Violent strikes on the French Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique have severely hit tourism to the area.
Thousands of islanders have been protesting about low wages and the rising cost of living for three weeks. They have set up blockades across the islands causing life for civilians to come to a standstill. The protests have turned violent causing schools, government offices, petrol stations and banks to close.
Tourism to the islands, at least in the short term, has been hit hard. Several hotels in Guadeloupe reported that they could not accept guests because protesters were congregated outside and staff did not turn up to work. Club Med was forced to close one of its properties.
P&O Cruises’ Ventura cancelled a scheduled stop at Martinique last Wednesday and Azamara Journey has amended its current itinerary to avoid the islands.
In Guadeloupe, staff have been working to get the airport back to normal. Flights were cancelled on Monday after protestors threw debris on the runway.
Lynn Hinton, managing director of Caribbean specialist operator Onyx Travel, said: “We have had a few clients out there during the riots. Their holidays have been affected by the power cuts, petrol shortages and shop closures. None of the hotels they’re staying at have been closed so we have been lucky.”
France’s National Travel Agencies organisation has reported that 10,000 tourists have cancelled planned vacations in Martinique and Guadeloupe. French newspapers report that two thirds of the 15,000 hotel beds in Guadeloupe normally occupied in this season, two thirds are empty.
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