Tourists were locked out of the Acropolis on Saturday by striking guards who are owed weekend pay. The industrial action strikes another blow into the Greek tourist industry.
The Acropolis was closed to visitors on Christmas Eve due to strike action by the site's guards. Frustrated tourists, eager to visit one of Greece's key treasures, were reduced to taking photographs from outside the shuttered gates. Other tourist sites across the country were also affected by strike action by the Guards Union.
Greece: The Acropolis
Ekithemerinireported that Yannis Mavrikopoulos, President of the Guards' Union, explained that guards are owed wages by the government, hence the strike. He said "We are working people. We have seen our salaries greatly reduced because of the economic crisis and we can't keep working without getting paid." The union has said it will continue to strike every weekend until the guards receive the wages they are owed.
International tourists were disappointed to be barred from visiting the Acropolis. The strike is yet another blow to the much needed tourism industry which was marred this year by striking taxi drivers that brought disruption and chaos. Athens News reported that hotel occupancy rates were down by over 23 percent in Athens in November, with at least 18 hotels closing down in central Athens. The image of Athens has been dealt a huge blow by the influx of illegal immigrants congregating in the center, resulting in an increase in crime.