Greece Turns to Volunteer Tour Guides to Promote Athens


August 31, 2012

While trying to improve Greece’s touristic image abroad, more and more locals, especially younger ones, are taking active measures to show foreign visitors that their country has a lot to offer and that the recent image of an economically instable land full of turmoil is largely untrue.

The capital city of Athens in particular is getting some of the best support from locals who have set up a travel buddy system called “dopios tours”. The word “dopios” translates into “local” and that’s exactly what you get, a local tour of a great Athens location that doesn’t show up in the travel pamphlets.

This system is great not only for first timers in Greece but also for veteran travelers who want to discover new and exciting things from locals living in the city. The system is not different from the travel buddy system and implies the locals filling out information about themselves, the languages they speak, their availability and their hours on a website where the tourists can contact them and express potential interests.

Each guide receives reviews based on a number of factors such as the number of trips made, how quickly they responded to inquiries in the past. This doesn’t mean that it’s a foolproof system, but it does offer an alternative to organized groups and it beats travelling around the city with maps in hand.

The usual price is around $50 per trip but the local participants say this is not about the money but it’s about setting the facts straight and to wash off some of that bad image that has affected yacht charter Athens in particular, because this is where most of the riots and demonstrations took place, making it the hardest hit place tourism-wise.

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