Eiffel Tower managers announced plans to reduce lighting costs and introduce online ticketing in an effort to make the iconic Paris monument an energy-efficient building with shorter visitor queues.
The Eiffel Tower, the world's most visited landmark, is to bring in online ticketing in a bid to slash waiting times of up to two hours for its seven million annual visitors, operators said Wednesday.
Pre-paid Internet tickets for groups will be on sale from next year, when the tower turns 120, and the area between its four iron feet, where tourists are currently made to queue in the wind, will be entirely refurbished.
The renovation plan, set for completion in 2015, also aims to attract more school groups, disabled people, and Parisians -- who currently make up just two percent of visitors.
Other improvements will include a champagne bar on the third floor of the tower, which soars 324 metres (710 feet) above the Paris skyline, and a wider range of shops for tourists.
Designed by the engineer Gustave Eiffel, the tower was built for the 1889 universal exhibition in Paris and was initially dismissed as a eyesore by many Parisians.
The Eiffel Tower was intended to be taken down after 20 years, but the authorities decided to let it stand, first for use as a radio communications tower and then as a landmark in its own right.
Date created : 2008-07-10