Friday, October 16, 2015

Greek Price Story

There have been several long Greece stories written up this week by a number of journalists.  They center on this new tourist pricing game for state museums and the woeful economic situation of Greece in general.

If you've never been to Greece.....let me introduce you to the standard tourist strategy.  First, most Greek airlines work hard to gimmick the cost of the trip to a pretty high level.  If there is anyway to gouge you at the last baggage weight or extra cost on the bags.....they will do it.  So, it's not exactly a cheap trip.

Then you arrive to find the hotel as advertised, but drinks at the hotel bar are double what you'd expect to pay.  You look at the little refrigerator bar in the room and just start laughing because they want two Euro for a Coke.....when you can buy a can of Coke for 60 cents.

The saving grace of the cost game....for decades....was the entry into the state museums.  You could go anywhere on the mainland, or the islands, and usually not pay more than ten Euro for an entry fee.
This past spring when I went to visit the Acropolis (the mandatory place you have to visit if you go to Athens).....the cost of the hill and the adjacent ruins was in the range of 12-Euro a person ($15).  I felt it was somewhat reasonable....although there's no escalator to get you up to the top of the hill and it is a no-thrills type situation where you will spend an entire day at between the hill and the ruins.

Well.....that price of a dozen-odd Euro will go roughly fifty-Euro a person for the Acropolis.  It is a hefty amount......almost what you'd pay for a four-star amusement park in Germany for an entire day (per adult).

The Greeks say that the rate changes affect at least two-hundred different museums.  They even said that these open open archaeological dig sites.....which were often just a roped off area in some small town in the middle of nowhere.....will now have some kind of entry fee.  I was scratching my head over that because there are probably between ten and twenty thousand such sites in Greece like that, and they were simply a roped-off area or a fenced-off area.  Will they hire up people to stand there and collect entry fees for each one?

The other side of this fee increase?  What Greece says is that if you are an unemployed will get free entry into the museums.  They also said that there will be some type of discount in the non-tourist period (November to April).....somewhere in the neighborhood of fifty-percent off the new fees.

This will irk some folks who are returning to Greece for a second trip and can remember in the 1980s paying next to nothing to enter the Acropolis, and now have to pay a hundred Euro for a couple to enter.

What the Greeks will naturally say is that you as a tourist.....can afford such luxury.  It's only right for them to charge that hefty amount.

If you'd stood there.....2,500 years ago and told a thousand Greeks what these stone structures would be used for (tourism) and what people would pay.....well, they would have built two or three times the number of temples, state buildings or statues.

So, my general advice....if you were planning a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Greece.....keep planning and go for the gusto.  Just be prepared to pay hefty prices and remember.....Greeks will figure out some way to charge nine Euro for a Pepsi, if it's possible.  For you American guys, that's $10.  Not even the Atlanta airport will charge you that kind of rate.

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