On the verge of a summer full of obstacles for the British to enjoy their holidays in sunny southern Europe, the G7 will serve from Friday as a showcase for the idyllic coastal town of Carbis Bay, on Cornwall, and a promotional boost for tourism in an area of the UK hit by the crisis.
A summer rest destination for the upper classes in England for decades, Carbis Bay prides itself in tourist brochures of having inspired the writer Virgina Woolf with its turquoise waters and its postcard image and of having its own branch of the famous gallery Tate art store in the adjoining town of St Ives.
In both locations some 15,000 people reside, to which are added this week about 5,500 policemen that will ensure the safety of the president of the United States, Joe Biden, and the rest of the leaders summoned to the summit, which will run from Friday to Sunday.
The arrival of world leaders forced the government to invest almost 8 million pounds (about 11.2 million dollars) in renovate nearby Newquay airport, and led some residents to wonder in the local media whether the large vehicles and limousines of political entourages will be able to travel the narrow, winding lanes of Cornwall.
Police guard an area in Carbis Bay, Great Britain, where the G7 leaders will meet from Friday. Photo: BLOOMBERG
Many also expressed their disgust at the anticipated temporary collapse in Carbis Bay and St Ives, towns so small that they will not host the summit press center, located in the nearby town of Falmouth.
Region of contrasts
The year and a half of pandemic restrictions The coronavirus harmed the tourism and hotel sector in the UK, as in so many other countries.
In Cornwall, the tourism industry had a turnover of about 2 billion pounds a year ($ 2.8 billion) before the covid, about 12% of the county’s wealth, and supported a fifth of jobs.
The economic boost from the Group of Seven most developed countries (G7) will be welcomed in a region with vast impoverished areas and full of contrasts, like much of the UK.
Pengegon Township, one of the poorest in England, just over 15 kilometers from the luxury of Carbis Bay, exemplifies those differences.
The weight of tourists
The relationship with tourism for the Cornish people is ambivalent.
Despite the jobs that the industry supports, lthe arrival of visitors with high purchasing power increased the cost of living and housing, especially in times of pandemic, which led many Londoners to settle in what were previously second homes.
Aware of the discomfort generated by this situation, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a few days before the summit an additional 65 million pound package ($ 91 million) to boost the economy of the area.
Carbis Bay, in the Cornwall area of Great Britain, will host world leaders this weekend. Photo: BLOOMBERG
Protests against the summit
The first protests within the framework of the G7 date back to April, when dozens of people gathered on Carbis Bay beach to Demand that the expansion works of the hotel where the leaders will stay be stopped, which required a felling of trees.
Inspired by this claim, the local singer Bailey Tomkinson composed the song “Bright red”, in which she criticizes the destruction of the environment and with which she achieved some repercussion in the local media.
“It is quite a patent irony. We have the G7 here talking about sustainability, at the same time that their hosts are cutting down trees,” the artist told the newspaper “Cornwall Live”.
It is not the only environmental protest unleashed by the leaders’ summit.
Last weekend, dozens of activists began a multi-day hike to Carbis Bay from Plymouth Harbor to urge the G7 to locate the climate emergency in the center of your schedule.
During the summit, protests will be authorized in the towns of Truro and Falmouth, both far from the main venue of the event, although the environmental group Extinction Rebellion has advanced that it plans to organize demonstrations in St Ives, much closer to the political leaders.