September 19, 2019
Latest News

G7 summit throws wet blanket on tourist season in Biarritz

Enrique Rubio

Biarritz, France, Aug 23 (efe-epa).- While it's still summer in this resort city on the Bay of Biscay, the usual throngs of tourists were absent from the streets of Biarritz on Friday amid a smothering security regime for this weekend's G7 summit here.

Sun-seekers who crowded onto the only remaining open beach, Plage Port Vieux, made their way back to their homes and lodgings with their identification badges displayed to avoid hassles with the police.

The city's merchants and restaurateurs are suffering and though the most optimistic residents say that hosting the summit will boost Biarritz's international profile, nobody is happy about the disruption to tourism, which accounts for 70 percent of economic activity here.

For every tourist with a camera, there are two cops armed to the teeth.

The security measures are extreme, especially given that the "counter-summit" of protesters was exiled to a spot 30km (18mi) outside the city.

Le coupe faim, a small restaurant serving crepes and ice cream, sits in a prime seaside location and usually stays open until 2 am during the tourist season. This week, the place has been emptying out by midnight.

"August is the fattest month of the year for merchants," the eatery's owner, Michelle Boue, tells Efe. "This is an enormous loss of sales. Everyone is asking: why a G7 summit in August?"

The summit organizers issued each of the roughly 2,000 accredited journalists who came to Biarritz to cover the event a gift card worth 75 euros ($84) to be used exclusively at restaurants in town.

The stated purpose was to encourage reporters to sample the region's Basque cuisine, but helping Biarritz restaurateurs fill empty tables was also a factor.

Authorities have divided the city into color-coded zones for the gathering of heads of state.

The tightest restrictions apply in the red zone, which extends outward from the summit venue at the Hotel du Palais, located on the city's central beach, Le Grande Plage.

Biarritz, Mayor Michel Veunac vowed, "will not be a bunker" during the summit, but "bunker" seems an apt way to describe the city.

"This situation is not very amusing when you're on vacation," said Christelle Lubrano, who came here from Aix-en-Provence on holiday with her husband, while acknowledging the importance of security for the summit.

Seated on a bench next to the beach, retiree Jean-Bernard Etcheverry waxes philosophical.

"It's true that they (the merchants) will be penalized, but you shouldn't look at the short term, rather at the long term. And I am convinced there will benefits because the city will be even more well-known internationally," Etcheverry says.

Alexandre Bellon, a waiter at Cristal Kfe, finds it difficult to be so detached as he contemplates a decline in the number of diners from 300 a day last week to as few as 20 on Friday.

"The city is empty. The beaches, closed. We're not used to a situation like this. We ask ourselves, why didn't they have it (the summit) in May or June," he fumes. EFE

er/dr

News history
US immigration courts' backlog exceeds 1 million cases

By Michelle Hackman.

Pompeo, Bin Salman condemn 'unprecedented' Saudi oil refinery attacks

Washington, Sept. 18 (efe-epa).- United States’ secretary of state and the Saudi crown prince met on Wednesday in Jeddah to coordinate a response to the...

Argentine lawmakers renew emergency food law

Buenos Aires, Sep 18 (EFE).- The Argentine Senate approved on Wednesday a measure to renew a 17-year-old emergency food law amid the worsening economic...

Fed cuts interest rates by a quarter point

Washington, Sep 18 (efe-epa).- The United States Federal Reserve voted Wednesday to lower its benchmark interest rate to a target range of between 1.75...

Trump, Rouhani, Bolsonaro to be UN's main protagonists, many missing

By Mario Villar

28 children die in Liberia school fire

Monrovia, Sep 18 (efe-epa).- At least 28 children have died in Liberia in a fire in a boarding school in a suburb on the outskirts of the capital Monrovia.

Trump steps up sanctions on Iran after oil attacks

Washington, Sep 18 (efe-epa).- The president of the United States said Wednesday he has ordered a significant increase in sanctions against Iran, a move...

Indian students and activists take part in an anti-tobacco campaign rally

New Delhi, Sep 18 (efe-epa).- The government of India on Wednesday announced a blanket ban on electronic-cigarettes, citing health risks to users,...

At least 10 injured as militants attack government office in Afghanistan

Kabul, Sep 18 (efe-epa).- At least 10 people were injured on Wednesday in a suicide bomb and gun attack targeting a government office complex in the city of...

Trump, Rouhani, Bolsonaro to be UN's main protagonists, many missing

By Mario Villar

Spain's politicians unofficially enter campaign mode as repeat vote looms

Madrid, Sep 18 (efe-epa).- Spanish lawmakers on Wednesday unofficially began campaigning for looming repeat elections in a lively prime minister's questions...

Hong Kong protests creating chasm between residents and police

By Shirley Lau.

Juncker: Possible no-deal Brexit remains 'palpable'

Strasbourg, France, Sep 18 (efe-epa).- The risk of a no-deal Brexit remains "palpable," the EU commission's president Jean-Claude Juncker told MEPs Wednesday.

Alleged Chinese cyber-attacks cast shadow over Australian politics

By Rocio Otoya

Freed Venezuelan lawmaker calls for release of all political prisoners

Caracas, Sep 17 (efe-epa).- The deputy speaker of Venezuela’s opposition-controlled parliament, who was released on Tuesday after spending more than 130...

Netanyahu vows to form new government

Tel Aviv, Sep 18 (efe-epa).- Israel's acting prime minister gave a speech to supporters early on Wednesday following general elections in the Middle Eastern...

Sánchez makes last call to avoid new Spanish elections

Spain will hold snap elections on 10 November, after acting PM Pedro Sánchez on Tuesday (17 September) failed to get either the support of the leftist...

Oil price falls as fears of supply shortage ebb

By Guillermo Ximenis

Pain, resignation hang over central Mexico 2 years after devastating quake

By Gabriela Garcia Guzman

Spain's king names no premier candidate, opening way to new elections

Madrid, Sep 17 (efe-epa).- Spain's King Felipe VI on Tuesday did not name a candidate to form a new government after his round of contacts with political...

Greta Thunberg, activists urge Congress to act on climate change

Washington, Sep 17 (efe-epa).- Sixteen-year-old Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, along with a group of indigenous leaders, on Tuesday demanded...

Saïed, Karoui will face off in 2nd round of presidential elections in Tunisia

Tunis, Sep 17 (efe-epa).- Conservative jurist Kaïes Saïed and media magnate Nabil Karoui will face off in a runoff election in Tunisia, according to the...

Amazon deforestation driven by mafia networks, NGO warns

Sao Paolo, Sep 17 (efe-epa).- Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is driven by violent mafia networks which the Jair Bolsonaro government has fueled by...

Snowden's memoirs: A call to protect privacy in a digital age

By Lucia Leal

I agree Welcome to news4europe.eu. We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.