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Greek museums suffer downturn

- by Archimedes

Greek museums suffer from downturn.

A slowdown in visitor numbers over the winter had a major impact of many museums and archaeological sites. Tourist attractions on Rhodes, in particular, were badly hit by the low numbers of tourists with visitors slashed by more than a half.

According to latest figures only 1,022 people toured Rhode's biggest attraction – the Knights' Palace – in December compared to the previous year's 2,156.

Other big losers were the Museum of Rhodes, down 63% to just 253, and the Acropolis of Lindos with only 490 visitors against 1,216 in December 2011.

Officials blame a fall in holiday visitors to Rhodes overall last year in the wake of street protests, widespread strikes and political unrest over the austerity measures imposed in a EU bailout of the country.

Museums and other historic sites on Rhodes saw overall numbers drop for the whole year with a 12% drop in visitors to the Knights' Palace to 189,900 and a 14.5% fall at the Museum of Rhodes where only 64,038 people passed through its door in the whole of 2012.

Annual visitor numbers were also down at one of Rhodes' most popular attractions, the Lindos Acropolis, which had 431,00 visitors last year against 511,000 the year before, a drop of 15.6%.

In Greece overall, museums saw a 2.8% drop in visitors, and a fall in revenues of 18.4%, according to the Hellenic Statistical Authority.

Archaeological sites and monuments across Greece had a 2.7% increase in visitors, but revenues were down 12.3%.

The archaeological sites are one of the biggest tourist draws in Greece and the Greek Islands but tourists were beset by constant disruptions, shutdowns and strike action by workers angry over the government's austerity measures.