eiffel tower

Eiffel Tower closed to tourists for second day

Paris’s iconic Eiffel Tower was closed to tourists for a second consecutive day on Thursday due to a dispute between workers and management.

Staff from the Eiffel Tower operating company, SETE, are protesting how visits to the iconic Parisian monument are organised, complaining of the sometimes “monstrous” queues that form for the popular tourist attraction.

Negotiations to avoid a strike that would halt public visits to the Tower were suspended on Wednesday.

Since early July the monument has set aside half of daily tickets for people who buy them in advance on the internet and choose a scheduled time for their visit. Previously just 20 percent of tickets could be booked ahead of time.

But the tower’s management has also decided to reserve specific elevators for each type of ticket holder, a move which “creates lines that are at times monstrous and often lopsided”, the CGT union said in a statement.

During off-peak times for pre-booked tickets, such as early afternoon or evening, the reserved elevator might be half empty – and yet there may be lines of up to three hours at the other elevator, which allows walk-in visitors.

High demand at the pre-booked elevator can cause backups that force people to wait long beyond their scheduled visit.

“Beyond the waste in terms of efficiency, and the unhappy visitors … employees’ patience has run out,” said the CGT’s Denis Vavassori.

He said that the problem was not that 50 percent of tickets are now pre-booked, but that all visitors should be allowed access to the same elevators in order to better manage the flows. He said management has refused to budge, however.

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