Fury over hotel tax increase

The cost of a hotel room is set to rise after MPs voted to increase the cap on the taxe de sejour

France’s 83million tourists face hike in hotel bills after MPs vote to increase level of "taxe de sejour"

THE cost of enjoying a night in a hotel in France could be about to increase by as much as €8 per person.

MPs outraged the owners of hotels, guesthouses and campsites when they voted yesterday to increase the cap on the taxe de sejour for three-star hotels from €1 to €5 per person per night, while the tax for guests at four- or five-star hotels will rise from €1.50 to €8.

Lower tax limits will be set for one- and two- star accommodation.

The decision means councils across the country will be able to raise more money from tourists staying in hotels in their towns.

The increase comes just a week after a major Conference on Tourism in Paris, where foreign minister Laurent Fabius announced plans to attract up to 100million foreign tourists a year to France, and has hoteliers and tourist businesses across the country up in arms.

It is understood the foreign minister is opposed to the increase.

An alliance of tourism businesses, including Accor, Euro Disney and Pierre & Vacances denounced the increase. In a statement, it said: “The mere announcement of this surcharge has already caused concern among foreign tour operators and chips away the attractiveness of our country.”

MPs also approved an additional tax of €2 per person per night staying at hotels and guesthouses in Ile de France to raise €140million a year to fund the maintenance of the region’s public transport system.

That tax will come into force on September 1.

President of the regional council, Jean-Paul Huchon said he was "delighted" by the vote. He said: "The 40 million annual tourists in Ile-de-France are likely to use public transport and can contribute to its improvement and competitiveness."

However, Roland Heguy, chairman of the Union des métiers et des Industries de l'Hôtellerie (UMIH), said: "Nowhere else in the world is public transportation is funded by any tax on tourism.”

Photo: Guy Bembridge

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