Cultural heritage in Greece during the present economic crisis

Olympia

The Stadion at Olympia © David Gill

Suffolk Business School Research Seminar

Professor David Gill

Date: 9 December 2015, 4.00-5.30 pm

Abstract

Greece has faced serious economic and social challenges during the present economic crisis. Heritage sites are seen as a major asset in the tourism strategy for Greece to generate income from outside the country. There are 15 World Heritage sites in Attica (the Athenian Akropolis), central Greece (Delphi), the Peloponnese (Bassae, Epidauros, Mycenae and Tiryns, Mystras, Olympia), Macedonia (Vergina, Thessalonika), and the islands (Delos, Rhodes, Chios, Corfu, Samos, Patmos). The paper will analyse data from the Hellenic Statistical Service.

In 2014 more than 14 million visits were made to heritage sites and museums in Greece. Back in 2008 the same figures showed that only 8 million visits were made. There are clearly heritage ‘hot-spots’ with Athens, Knossos, Rhodes and Olympia leading the way. The figures suggest that visitors tend to enjoy visiting sites rather than museums, though at Delphi nearly two-thirds of visitors also make their way to the museum to see the finds from the excavations. In 2014 heritage sites and museums generated more than 54 million Euros in ticket sales alone.

However there are some sites and museums, especially on more remote islands or in the mountains of the Peloponnese, where visitor numbers are extremely low. There are suggestions from northern European and North American arts commentators that Greece should realise its assets by selling ‘duplicate’ objects from its extensive holdings.

Further details

Olympia

Temple of Zeus at Olympia © David Gill

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