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TOURISM

French cities to scoop €13.5 million from Airbnb ‘tourist tax’

Airbnb plans to pay €13.5 million in tourist taxes to cities across France, with the capital Paris getting the lion’s share at nearly €7 million, the home-sharing app said.

French cities to scoop €13.5 million from Airbnb 'tourist tax'

Airbnb began automatically collecting tourist tax, or taxe de séjour in French, when guests made a booking in 2015 in Paris and the Alpine resort of Chamonix, and then extended the measure to 19 French towns and cities in 2016, and to a total of 50 last year.

Airbnb said in a statement that it planned to hand over the €13.5 million it collected last year to local authorities by the end of the week.

It said it plans to extend the measure to 1,500 localities across the country in 2018.

Its figures said that Paris would this week be given €6.9 million, Nice €860,000 , and Marseille a total of €790,000.

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The wildly successful home-sharing app has come under pressure across the world, with critics saying its short-term renters represent unfair competition for hotels, encourage property speculation and reduce the housing available to locals.

Paris is one of Airbnb's top markets, with around 65,000 sites listed. The city’s authorities have in recent years toughened rules under which the US-based firm is allowed to operate in the French capital.

Last month it rolled out a new rule forcing people renting out their properties on Airbnb or other online rental platforms to first register it with the City Hall.

The city also last year greatly increased the number of fines it slaps on owners renting their Paris apartments out on Airbnb for more than the city limit of 120 days per year.

In the first half of 2017, 31 owners of 128 units were slapped with a total of €615,000 for breaching the rules.

 

TOURISM

Tourism minister: Book your French ski holiday now

France’s ski resorts will be open for business this winter, tourism minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne has promised - but no decision has yet been taken on whether a health pass will be required to use ski lifts.

Skiers at a French Alpine resort
Photo: Philippe Desmazes / AFP

“This winter, it’s open, the resorts are open,” Lemoyne told France 2’s 4 Vérités programme.

“Compared to last year, we have the vaccine,” he said, adding that he would “invite those who have not yet done so to [book], because … there will soon be no more room.”

And he promised an answer ‘in the next few days’ to the question of whether health passes would be required for winter holidaymakers to use ski lifts. “Discussions are underway with the professionals,” he said.

The stakes are high: the closure of ski lifts last winter cost manufacturers and ski shops nearly a billion euros. 

This year ski lifts will remain open, but a health pass may be necessary to access them. The health pass is already compulsory for après ski activities such as visits to bars, cafés and restaurants.

COMPARE The Covid rules in place at ski resorts around Europe

Many town halls and communities which depend on winter sports have found it difficult or impossible to make ends meet.

“It’s time for the French mountains to revive,” Lemoyne said, pointing to the fact that the government has provided “more than €6 billion” in aid to the sector.

Winter tourism professionals, however, have said that they are struggling to recruit for the winter season.

“Restaurant and bars are very affected,” by the recruitment crisis, one expert told Franceinfo, blaming a lack of urgency from authorities towards the winter holiday industry.

“We are all asking ourselves what we should do tomorrow to find full employment in the resort,” the expert added.

Post-Brexit visa and work permit rules mean that ski businesses have found it difficult to recruit Brits for short-term, seasonal positions.

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