Prices of Paris attractions and transportation to rise due to Olympics


The Place Vendome is one of the many attractions in Paris. — Reuters

While France failed to win the Rugby World Cup it hosted in 2023, it ended the year as the world’s most-visited country.

Hosting hundreds of thousands of supporters of the 19 other competing nations no doubt helped France remain the world’s top tourism destination, a ranking it looks odds-on to retain with Paris hosting the Olympic Games in July and August.

According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) and ForwardKeys, booking data show France as “set to keep its pole position as the world’s most popular destination for international arrivals this year”.

But such popularity looks set to come with a price – for the visitor.

Blaming a 90% rise in energy costs in 2021 and 2022, the Louvre announced in December it would add €5 (RM25.50) to the door fee, taking the price of entry to €22 (RM112).

If it gets anything like the almost nine million visitors recorded in 2023, the increase would see the museum earn around €115mil (RM586mil) from gate receipts this year, once the 40% or so of visitors it says get free entry are accounted for.

But visitors to Paris will not only have to pay more to see the Mona Lisa, which is on display in the Louvre, it could cost them more to get across town to the museum.

Tickets for the Paris underground rail network will be almost doubled during the peak July-September period, when the capital will host not only the Olympic Games but the Paralympics, which will start on Aug 28.

Visitors to France, and Paris in particular, should likely brace for more price hikes later in the year as demand for flights and hotels surges for the summer Olympics, which is usually regarded as the second-biggest international sporting event after the football World Cup.

Paris had already seen visitor numbers return to the heights last seen before the Covid pandemic.

The Eiffel Tower in 2023 received 6.3 million visitors, even more than in 2019.

The Paris revival is part of a global recovery taking travel back to where it was before lockdowns and border closures.

UN Tourism, a United Nations body better-known by its old name, the World Tourism Organisation, said in mid-January that global travel numbers should this year get back to pre-pandemic levels.

The EU’s statistics agency reported in January that 2023 tourism numbers in the bloc exceeded those of 2019, when measured in nights spent in hotels. – dpa

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