For Paris, 2 days without the Eiffel Tower
Thousands of tourists were turned away from the city's landmark during the high season, spoiling lots of trips.
If any of your friends were in Paris on Tuesday or Wednesday, you may not want to ask to see their pictures from the top of the Eiffel Tower once they come back. It might be a touchy subject.
The iconic, 1,063-foot-tall tower was closed for two days this week after its staff walked off their jobs over maintenance work and pay issues. The Associated Press says the iconic landmark finally reopened Thursday morning, but that was little solace to the tourists who had been wandering around, frustrated and in disbelief, at the Eiffel Tower's base earlier this week.
The tower's 300 or so workers, according to Al Jazeera, have been complaining for years about delay in repairs on the structure, which originally opened to the public in 1889. The staff also says overcrowding "poses a risk to security and undermines their working conditions."
Serious concerns for sure, but "why now?" must have been the cries coming from those who were turned away.
"We have had a few very upset people,” Julie Neis with Easy Pass Tours, which takes some 500 tourists a day up the tower, told The Wall Street Journal. "They booked their perfect dream trip to Paris and only have a few days here." The company has had to issue refunds to several hundred people.
"I thought it impossible," Alex Hokkanen from Minnesota told Reuters. "So many people come here each day and want to see this. I thought for sure it would be operating."
The Eiffel Tower attracts 7 million visitors a year and up to 30,000 a day during the peak summer tourist season.
A spokeswoman for the tower declined to comment on the strike, although she did tell The Journal that the tower, owned by the City of Paris and a company that manages the site, had total revenue of $87 million in 2012.
Here's something to remember if you find yourself in Paris the next time this dispute flares up: If you're willing to shell out a bit more argent, there's still one sure way to get up into the structure. Its top-rated restaurant has its own dedicated elevator to the tower's second level, 410 feet (125 meters) above ground level, with an amazing view of the City of Lights.
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