Paris Olympics: Why Are Hotels and Flights Still So Empty?

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With the Paris Olympics just around the corner, you’d expect the city to be buzzing with excitement. But surprisingly, hotels and flights are still wide open, and it’s making the tourism industry nervous.

According to Daily Star on Friday (May 7, 2024), there’s a growing worry that travelers think a trip to Paris will be way too expensive, so they’re just not booking.

Air France is preparing for a potential loss of £152 million if tourists skip out on flying to Paris.

It seems like the international crowd is avoiding Paris, and travel between Paris and other cities is lower than usual for June-August. Even the locals in France seem to be putting off their vacations until after the Olympics or are considering other destinations.

Tourism operators are crossing their fingers that things will pick up after the games and get better by the end of August and September.

But there’s a feeling that tourists are steering clear of Paris, despite its iconic status. Some surveys show hotel bookings are down 25% compared to last year.

Hosting the Olympics is turning out to be counterproductive because everything gets super pricey.

Traffic restrictions will be a hassle, metro ticket prices will triple, and tourist taxes will go up threefold. Plus, the unpredictable weather isn’t helping, making people less inclined to visit.

According to France’s official statistics office, Insee, hotels in Paris were about 90.7% full last July. Estimates say four out of ten rooms might be vacant.

And it’s not just hotels struggling; rental apartments are also seeing low occupancy. Romain Bellet, co-founder of WeHost, said Airbnb bookings dropped to just 20% last May.

Normally, big sports events bring in tons of international tourists. But the high cost of living in France and the steep price hikes during the Olympics seem to be scaring people away.

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