The socialist government in France seems to have little idea about the negative impacts that increasing costs by levying taxes has on demand. Only last month Mr Hollande launched an initiative to boost tourism in France by upgrading hotel sector, streamlining the visa process and finally building a long needed express rail link from Paris to the main International airport – CDG.
Now incredibly they have announced some of the plans to help fund this improvement in infrastructure, by taxing the very people they are trying to attract. The proposals include increasing the hotel taxes which are levied on every visitor up from 1.50 euros to 8 euros a night, a huge increase.
If you’re planning to stay in Paris it’s even worse, in addition another 2 euros would be levied per night on top of that to help pay for the Paris related infrastructure projects such as the high speed rail link.
Not surprisingly the countries tourist related business, and hoteliers are furious. They are dismayed that the government is even considering applying two new taxes to visitors when their aim is to bring more tourism to France. It should be noted that no consultation has taken place with any tourist sector organisations.
There are some estimates that if France increased it’s share of the 5% growth in global tourism over the next few years then some half a million jobs could potentially be created. It is of course a major economic challenge and a huge opportunity to help the French recovery. It looks unlikely though that making France an even more expensive destination is going to attract more visitors, even if those costs will be funding infrastructure improvements. Many travellers have become increasingly budget conscious and using the internet for both research and booking can make much more informed choices on their destinations. For example if you use popular DNS services to bypass geo restrictions, you can often book domestic only tickets on airlines.
There is evidence that cost plays an even more important part in the decision making process for most tourists in these times of austerity. People aren’t missing out on their holidays but rather making the most out of their money by travelling to cheaper destinations and cutting costs wherever possible – taxes are going to be a huge disincentive to most tourists who already have a poor opinion of the way Paris treats it’s visitors. It’s more likely that people pick alternative destinations and use the internet and the best vpn software they can find to pick up bargains on flights and travel.