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France earns €148 million in tourist taxes from Airbnb

The Local France
The Local France - [email protected]
France earns €148 million in tourist taxes from Airbnb
The logo of the online lodging service Airbnb displayed on a smartphone in Paris. (Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP)

As tourists made their way back to France in 2022, many stayed in Airbnbs, helping to more than double the country's earnings from its 'tourist tax' when compared to pre-pandemic levels.

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One of the world's most visited countries - tourism in France rebounded in 2022, led by droves of American and British tourists who excitedly made their way back to l'Hexagone after several years of travel restrictions. In June, for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, Paris and greater Paris region returned to pre-pandemic (2019) hotel occupancy levels.

It was not just hotels who welcomed back customers in 2022, however. Airbnb rentals also increased - so much so that the platform Airbnb paid €148 million in tourist tax to French municipalities in 2022, according to Le Parisien.

This amount represented an increase of 60 percent when compared to 2021, according to Airbnb.

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The holidaymaker - or tourist - tax was first introduced in 2018, and it is proportional to the number of nights spent in a property and is paid by the tenants at the end of their stay. It is paid twice a year to the local council on behalf of the hosts, professionals and individuals.

The specific rate of the tax depends on the nature of accommodation, which includes its classification (star rating), as well as the rate voted on by the municipality.

As for 2022, it was paid out to over 23,000 French municipalities.

For furnished accommodation, municipalities typically set a rate of between one percent to five percent of the nightly price per person, which usually corresponds to just a few euros per trip. 

France's 2022 tourism boost 

"The year 2022 marks the recovery of tourism across the whole of France," Emmanuel Marill, Director of Airbnb France, told Le Parisien.

Airbnb saw a significant rise in the total number of rentals in France for the year 2022, which they classify as the period between November 2021 and October 2022, when compared to both 2021 and 2019 (pre-pandemic).

France more than doubled its earnings from the tourist tax in 2022 (€148 million) when compared to the €58 million in 2019, performing better than 2021 as well, when the country collected €93 million from the tax.

Unsurprisingly, it was the city of Paris who received the most from the tourist tax - at least €24.3 million.

READ MORE: Bail mobilité: How France’s short-term rental contracts work

This also represents a significant increase - a jump of 158 percent - when compared to 2021, when the city collected €9.4 million.

Paris is not the only French city to have received more funds from the tourist tax though - Marseille collected €2.8 million, compared to the €1.9 million from 2021, and Nice collected more than €2.4 million, compared to more than €1.2 million in 2021.

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Corsica also collected a significant amount in the tourist tax - about €3.7 million in total across Corsican municipalities, according to Franceinfo

Non-urban parts of France were not forgotten either - about 30 percent of the earnings from the tourist tax went to rural communities - or localities with less than 3,500 inhabitants. 

"Tourism in France is also rural," the director of the Association for Rural Mayors of France, Cédric Szabo, told Le Parisien. "Many people are seeking the calm and the outdoors for their French vacation."

Szabo pointed out that rural travel in France has great potential for tourism, even in places that do not have a primary attraction, like "Mont-Saint-Michel or Les Baux-de-Provence."

The head of Airbnb France also went on to tell the French daily that the rental platform is "increasingly benefiting a wide variety of communities every year."

"Whether they are located in the heart of or on the outskirts of major urban areas or in the French countryside, more French municipalities have additional means to develop their tourism offering and promote their territory over the long term," he said.

Criticism for Airbnb

However, despite the increase in tax revenue, many cities have criticised the expansion of of bed-and-breakfasts thanks to platforms like Airbnb or Booking.

READ MORE: What are the rules on renting out French property on Airbnb?

Residents often accuse the platforms of causing a housing shortage which negatively impacts those who live in these towns year-round.

In response to these concerns, several town halls have put in restrictions for renting out a property with Airbnb. Renters are increasingly required to declare their rentals to the town hall.

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