Tourists told to stay off streets in Guadeloupe

Hotel News - 23/02/2009

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The remarks have come from officials on the French Caribbean island after protesters who have been clashing with riot police blocked roads leading to the airport.

Thousands of holidaymakers are trying to leave the troubled island, which is experiencing increased violence as the cost of living continues to soar.

Guadeloupe police have said that they are escorting coaches transporting tourists to the airport, using their armoured vehicles to break through the roadblocks set up by protesters.

They are advising all other tourists to remain in their hotels or resorts, and not wandering out into the streets where demonstrators have escalated their protests into full-out battles with the riot police.

A spokesman for Guadeloupe’s police force said: "It is very frightening for them. They came here for a holiday and not step into a war zone.”

He added: "There is extra security at all hotels and we have assured tourists they will be safe there until we can escort safely to the airport. The protesters have nothing against them – tourism is the lifeblood of the island's economy."

A Guadeloupe tourism official, Jeanette Mourier, noted: "We have mainly British, French and American tourists here. Future bookings have also dropped off. This violence is doing nothing for our economy."

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