Dakkis Joannou, who was involved in the Guggenheim’s expansion in Blibao, sounds off on the Greek financial crisis to Bloomberg. He’s frustrated at Greece’s government. The government, no doubt, is frustrated that the United Kingdom won’t return the Elgin Marbles:
“Culture is a big business that people are hungry for and we have huge assets,” Joannou, 71, says from his office in the shadow of the Olympic stadium. “But the government uses our assets to make political statements and to gain votes. It’s a matter of survival for them, and nobody wants to invest in culture or anything else in a climate of bankruptcy.”
Even so, Joannou says that the two main political parties, Pasok and New Democracy, are devoid of the necessary cultural drive, and that the government’s projected 12 percent rise to 16.5 million foreign tourists visiting Greece in 2011 compared with last year is a Pyrrhic indicator.
“The tourists who come to Greece go to the sunny islands, making any rise in visitor numbers pathetic in comparison to our assets,” he says. “Culture management must be creative, imaginative, exciting and that can’t be done here.”Continue Reading