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Paris hotels struggle with low demand as Olympics approach

Eiffel Towel Paris
Eiffel Towel Paris Copyright Thomas Padilla/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.
Copyright Thomas Padilla/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Jean-Philippe Liabot
Published on Updated
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Tourism and hotel professionals in Paris are hoping to make up for lost time with the showcase effect that the Olympics will have on their bookings for the coming seasons.

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Expecting a record-breaking summer, the hotel industry in Paris is becoming concerned as it experiences low occupancy rates ahead of the summer Olympic Games.

With barely four weeks to go until the Olympic Games, observers say tourists seem to be turning their backs on the capital.

Occupancy rates are down by almost 25% compared to previous years, according to some polls.

For the Ze Hotel at the foot of Montmartre, June has been nothing like the previous months. The hotel is only half-full, compared with at least 80% in recent years.

"I think the Olympic Games effect is counter-productive since everything is very expensive," says Aldric Duval, the hotel's director.

"We explained to (the tourists) that traffic restrictions were going to be complicated, that the price of a metro ticket was going to triple, that the tourist tax had tripled... On top of that, the weather is difficult, so people are less inclined to come," explains Duval.

'It's extremely quiet'

Last July, the official statistics office of France, Insee, reported that hotel occupancy rates in Paris averaged 90.7%.

This means that in a hotel with 100 rooms, less than 10 would be unoccupied on any given night. However, the current numbers project up to 40 unsold rooms may be available during the 2024 Olympics.

According to Romain Bellet, cofounder of WeHost, apartments are struggling to reach full capacity, with occupancy rates ranging from 20% to 25% on Airbnb in May.

"It's extremely quiet," he said in a recent interview.

While many tourists are holding out for the final moments and hoping for further price reductions, tourism and hotel professionals in Paris are hoping to make up for lost time with the showcase effect that the Olympics will have on their bookings for the coming seasons.

The city's tourism bureau, "Paris je t'aime," has said it expects the majority of tourists during the summer games that will take place between 26 July and 11 August to be "local or domestic".

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