Acropolis Succumbs to Debt Crisis as Greece Cuts Filming Costs

The Acropolis, Greece’s star attraction for 2,500 years, may be preparing for a bigger role.

The Greek government lowered the permit costs this month for using archaeological sites and museums for film crews to 1,600 euros ($2,039) a day from as much as 4,000 euros in a 2005 pricelist, and for professional photographers to 200 euros from 300 euros, according to the Culture and Tourism Ministry. Historical spots include the Acropolis, which houses the Parthenon, and Delphi, home of the ancient oracle.

The previous prices were “excessive” and this prevented some groups from being able to use images of Greece, George Andreas Zannos, an adviser to the ministry, said in an e-mailed response to questions yesterday.

Cash-strapped Greece is trying to squeeze more money out of its monuments as the government battles to avert a debt default and collapse of the country’s economy.

The cost to use pictures of state-owned sites and museums in publications, from art history books and encyclopedias to tourist guides and magazines, was cut to as low as 30 euros per shot from 100 euros, based on statements dated October 2005 and January this year from the ministry in Athens.

A list of monuments such as the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion will be included in a 60-euro per shot category, according to the new price-list. All categories will now carry discounts after the first 10 photographs.

Making Money

Previously, “publishers refrained from publishing books with images of archaeological content and museums” and sites lacked guides and books with images, Zannas said. All revenue will be used by the ministry, he said.

The Culture and Tourism Ministry’s budget has been cut 20 percent since 2010. Receipts from visits to museums and archaeological sites rose 5.3 percent to 41.2 million euros in the first nine months of last year, the Athens-based Hellenic Statistical Authority said on Jan. 10.

The ministry also is working on speeding up the process of obtaining a permit, which hindered film production companies from using locations in Greece in the past, Zannas said.

Nia Vardalos, writer and star of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” said there were many restrictions in trying to get permission to film scenes of “My Life in Ruins” in 2009 on the Acropolis site, according to a video interview on Greekreporter.gr in May 2009.

“I hope that we set an example in that we went and we shot and didn’t break anything,” she said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Natalie Weeks in Athens at nweeks2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jerrold Colten at jcolten@bloomberg.net

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