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Document Details :
Title: Re-branding Athens and its Culture through 'Alternative' City Tours
Subtitle: Beyond an 'Authorised Heritage Discourse' and towards an 'Authorised Crisis Discourse'
Author(s): TOULOUPA, Smaragda , POULIOS, Ioannis
Volume: 21 Issue: 1 Date: 2015
The present paper explores the consequences of the current economic crisis for the heritage and tourism sector in Greece and more specifically for the image and the perception of Athens by visitors. This question is explored through a preliminary study of the new ‘alternative’ tours of the city that are offered by emerging key players in the tourism industry of Athens, i.e. communities formed by locals and start-ups. We examine the established tourism image of Greece and Athens that is centred on Classical heritage and is operated by the State, an image that prevailed for decades before the economic crisis emerged. The dominant role of the State and by extension this established tourism image have been challenged by the economic crisis. We then present some of the changes in the heritage and tourism sector outlining the new tourism image of Greece and Athens and tracing the increasing role of locals and start-ups. The crisis is to be understood not simply as a condition that affects the viability of cultural organisations in Greece, but also as a phenomenon that is bending and shaping mentalities, structures and practices in the heritage and the tourism sector. The established Classicist stereotype that has operated for decades or even centuries in the context of an ‘authorised heritage discourse’ tends to be gradually replaced by a new framework of conceiving, protecting and experiencing heritage that involves many new players – an 'authorised crisis discourse'.