Paris hotels angry over tourist tax hike ahead of Olympics

Paris hotels angry over tourist tax hike ahead of Olympics

The controversy comes after regional authorities announced a sharp rise in public transport tickets for the Games
The controversy comes after regional authorities announced a sharp rise in public transport tickets for the Games. Photo: Dimitar DILKOFF / AFP
Source: AFP

Paris hoteliers were up in arms on Tuesday over a government plan to triple the tax paid by visitors on nights at hotels next year when the capital hosts the Olympics.

The tourist tax in Paris now varies from 0.25 euros ($0.27) a night for the most basic accommodation to five euros ($5.5) a night for luxurious establishments.

The government is to triple that fee as part of its 2024 budget, which it plans to ram through parliament without a vote before Christmas.

"It's another blow for the competitiveness of our sector as well as France's image at a time when all attention is on the Paris 2024 Olympics," the UMIH hotel and restaurant union and GNC group of hotel chains said in a statement.

The government has said the 200-percent increase in the tourist tax will help fund public transport.

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The syndicates claimed it would "amount to 423 million euros in tax collected a year -- far more than the 200 million euros" the government and the regional transport authority have said they needed.

Catherine Querard, the president of GHR, another union representing the hospitality and catering sector, added: "The authorities fear a hike in hotel prices, but they're sending the tax rate through the roof. Then they'll come and blame us."

Hotels have already increased their rates for a night during the Olympics from July 26 to August 11.

President Emmanuel Macron's government is to invoke article 49.3 of the French constitution to pass its 2024 budget without a vote.

It does not have a majority following 2022 elections and has several times used the controversial mechanism, including to enact its highly disputed pension reform earlier this year despite months of protest.

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The controversy comes after regional authorities announced a sharp rise in public transport tickets for the Games, sparking anger.

The regional transport authority is to near-double metro fares for single tickets and 10-ticket passes during the Olympics.

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Source: AFP

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