Cash-strapped Greece raising prices of tickets for tourist spots
If you are heading for Greece for sightseeing, be sure to have extra cash ready. That's because the cash-strapped country is raising prices of tickets to tourist spots as early as April.
There were reports that the admission fee to the world-famous Acropolis may rise by as much as fourfold, from $14 to $59. Tickets to other sites like the Ancient Olympia and the Minoan ruins of Knossos on the island of Crete are expected to double.
The culture ministry said tickets to 200 state museums would also increase.
Greek travel agents are opposing the price adjustments, saying it would drive away tourists. "The value-added tax hikes on all goods and tourism services, as well as the announced increases to the ticket prices of museums and archaeological sites, burden the travel package so much that it will become uncompetitive in the end, " Lysandros Tsilidis, president of the federation of Greek travel agents, told the Guardian.
Hotels, tourist transport, and catering are hurting as a result of new sales taxes imposed by the government.
With soaring costs, travel agents see tourists avoiding Greece and flocking to other destinations in Europe, whose admission fees are lower. The price of a ticket to the Tower of London is only $37 while a trip up the Eiffel Tower costs only $18.
The Greek government is pushing for the hikes to help offset austerity measures it has agreed upon with international creditors.
On Friday, lawmakers approved the first austerity bill that would pave the way for the release of $2.3 billion in bailout funds.
They will again vote next month on a second set of reform measures required to unlock another tranche of funding worth $1.1 billion.
Greece, which faces repayment of loans amounting to $387 billion, looks forward to receiving a total financial bailout package of $94 billion over three years.
The country is subjected to a review every quarter to see whether it is meeting the terms of the bailout deal. The first such review takes place this month.