1:10 PM UTC – November 20, 2023
PARIS (Reuters) – Visitors heading to Paris for next year’s Olympics face major accommodation problems amid soaring hotel prices and a crackdown on rentals of tourist apartments.
A report by the Paris tourism office showed that hotel prices would rise by a whopping 314% between the 2023 and 2024 summers.
“We want popular Games, and it can’t be popular Games at 700 euros a night,” Frederic Hocquard, Paris’s deputy mayor for tourism and night life, told Reuters on Monday.
The report also hit out at the Paris hotels for waiting too long to open their booking platforms for the July 26 – Aug. 11 Games.
“Some 66% of the hotels are still not available for booking for the period of the Olympics,” the report said.
According to the Paris Tourism office, a hotel night in the Paris region was 169 euros in July 2023, and it is expected to soar up to 699 euros in July 2024.
“The rise is 366% for the two-star hotels and 475% for the three-star hotels,” it said.
“What is going to happen is that people will take a hotel room for 200 euros a night in Nantes, Lille or Rennes and commute by train and they will save money this way,” Hocquard added.
“At the London Games, the prices were too high and the occupation rate of hotels went 12% down. You can’t triple the price of the rooms. Maybe you can allow, a 10, 15% increase, but tripling the prices won’t work.
“The way it is going, we’re going to feed the Airbnb beast.”
Visitors might opt for Airbnb, but the French parliament is expected to pass a law to crack down on illegal renting of tourism homes.
In Paris, residents are allowed to rent their place on Airbnb for a maximum 120 days a year, but Jacques Baudrier, Paris’s deputy mayor in charge of housing, said the city is struggling to have the law respected.
“We need to produce a lot of evidence that the law is not respected and it makes it hard to sanction,” Baudrier told Reuters on Monday.
“There are about 20,000 homes that are being rented illegally all year long.”
The French parliament is expected to pass a law stipulating that owners who rent their homes will be taxed.
“The law project will be presented at the Parliament on Nov. 28, and we are confident that it will pass. We don’t have any problems with those who rent their home legally. We have a problem with the illegal renting,” said Baudrier.
Last June, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said he is “in favour” of reforming the taxation of furnished tourist accommodation, because of the significant “windfall effects”.
Between 2021 and 2023, owners who illegally rented their homes were fined 6.5 million euros in total.
Reporting by Julien Pretot; editing by Pritha Sarkar