A year ahead of the Olympic Games, Parisians are already preparing to leave the city and rent out their flats on Airbnb as prices for the period skyrocket.
Gabriel D. has two types of Parisian friends: those who dread the summer months of 2024, thinking about the masses of tourists expected to flock in for the Olympic Games, and those who are planning to retreat to the French countryside while renting out their apartments on Airbnb.
Gabriel is especially buzzed. He expects to make around €30,000 in Airbnb profits for the almost three-week period of the Games.
“I’m happy to be able to take advantage of the system, thanks to Airbnb, and to make money on the tourists,” he says.
His 90-square-metre, two-bedroom apartment lies in the heart of Paris, right in the busy neighbourhood of Châtelet. Gabriel plans to rent it out for €1,200 a night during the Olympic Games, a palpable increase from the €400–€500 he would usually expect to make.
According to a study by Deloitte commissioned by Airbnb and published in April, prices for the Île-de-France (Paris) region will rise 85 percent during the Games. And tourists are ready to pay the price.
Californian Christine Bird has already secured a one-bedroom apartment near the Louvre. She will pay around $1,000 (€894) per night. Bird decided to book now, scared that the prices will skyrocket or hosts will cancel in search of a more lucrative deal. The first Airbnb she booked got cancelled with no explanation.
Kayla Lehmann Shelley from Ohio is also preparing her Olympics trip. “We have been planning this trip since the 2020 Olympics,” she says. Her “pretty healthy” overall budget for a family of four is $20,000–$30,000 (€18,000-€27,000) for a week. Shelley and her family are among the 11.3 million tourists expected to visit France for the Olympic Games, according to the Paris Tourism Office.
“More than half a million visitors are expected to stay at an Airbnb for the duration of the Olympic and Paralympic Games,” says Emmanuel Marill, director of Airbnb France.
According to Deloitte’s study, Airbnb’s total economic impact on France during the Olympics is expected to be over €1 billion, including revenue from hosts, profits for the hospitality industry and local businesses, as well as indirect effects on various sectors of the economy.
Additionally, €70 million in tax revenues are expected to be paid back to municipalities and tax authorities.
However, large French cities such as Marseille, Bordeaux and especially Paris often blame platforms such as Airbnb for exacerbating housing shortages and increasing the costs of rentals for locals.
“A lot of cities are imposing regulations these days because locals are finding it harder and harder to find housing and are forced to relocate further away,” says Laetitia Caron, director of the French rental agency Particulier à Particulier.
France has already imposed a limit of 120 days per year for short-term rental properties. But some municipalities are choosing to regulate further. Brittany’s Saint-Malo, for example, France’s 2019 champion of short-term rentals, has imposed strict neighbourhood quotas.
🇺🇸🏆 Across the internet, US fans of the Olympics are uniting ahead of the Paris 2024 Games.
— FRANCE 24 English (@France24_en) July 25, 2023
In June, France’s Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire announced that the ministry is working on closing tax loopholes that benefit short-term rental companies like Airbnb.
“I have a hard time understanding the very favourable tax treatment for Airbnb. We are going to reform the tax rules and I will make proposals,” Le Maire said on BFM TV.
The ministry does not know yet whether the reform will be included in the 2024 budget – a change that would likely impact Airbnb’s economic outlook for the Olympics.
Despite planning to benefit from the system, even Gabriel thinks that regulations are long overdue.
“The government has been ripped off by Airbnb renters,” he says.
For him and other Parisians, renting out their apartments will offer some additional income and a respite from soaring inflation – although it is a luxury reserved for those who have a second address and can do a month of remote work.