Europe1 .fr , with AFP 13h15, 06 December 2023

A few months before the start of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, the government wants to raise the tone on controls in the hotel and restaurant sector. At least 10,000 establishments are affected by this decision.

The Fraud Crackdown will double controls in French hotels and restaurants by the 2024 Olympics to review 10,000 establishments in France, so that tourists "get their money's worth," announced Wednesday the Minister Delegate for Tourism. While prices, especially in hotels, are already showing sharp increases for the period of the Olympics (from July 26 to August 11, 2024), Olivia Grégoire, French Minister Delegate for Tourism, said on Wednesday on Sud Radio that strengthening controls was an "effective lever" to limit these increases.

More than 1,700 establishments already inspected

The average price of a one-night stay in Île-de-France rose from 169 euros in July 2023 to 699 euros during the Olympics, according to a survey drawn up in September by the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau. And similar levels of increase are seen on rental platforms such as Airbnb. "Neither in London, nor in Rio, nor even in Beijing, has there ever been a price cap during the Olympic and Paralympic Games. We are still not in an administered economy," Olivia Grégoire said on Wednesday.

But "I have an effective lever: it's to increase controls. In 2023, on Paris Ile-de-France, there were just over 600 hotels checked. There are 1,600 hotels in total (in the Paris region) and all of them will be checked by the time of the Games," she said. "In France, hotel night rates are set freely," said a statement the Fraud Control (DGCCRF).

The organisation has deployed "a specific system of controls, online and on-site, of the wider hotel sector (hotels, centres and holiday villages), on the occasion of major sporting events" such as the Rugby World Cup and the Olympic Games. In this context, "more than 1,700 establishments have already been checked in 2023, including those that are the subject of reports (via the SignalConso website or through the prefectures) or already known to the services".

70% of anomalies detected

And 70% of the establishments inspected "have at least one anomaly, of varying seriousness, which led the services of the DGCCRF to send the professionals concerned 871 warnings, 289 injunctions, 44 administrative fines and to transmit 47 criminal reports". Among the problems identified: failure to display prices outside and inside the establishments, failure to provide grades, non-existent classification claimed by the establishment or misleading claims, the organization lists.

These results have led the government to speed up inspections. "In 2023, we had 4,300 controlled establishments in France. There will be 10,000 between now and the Olympics, we will more than double the number of tests," said Olivia Grégoire. These checks will concern hotels, furnished rentals, campsites, restaurants, cafes, food trucks, etc. And will intervene in establishments, with professionals' websites and with online booking platforms, specifies the DGCCRF.

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"If the prices are not displayed, it is possibly a mistake and it is reprehensible. If the prices displayed are not those paid, then the consumer is also entitled to make this known and to complain," the minister recalled. "There is an arsenal of extremely heavy fines and sanctions, the important thing is that the consumer is informed of the price he has to pay," she continued. She specified that "900 agents" of the DGCCRF, i.e. "a third of the total staff of this administration, will be mobilized on price control, health and the smooth running of the Olympic Games".

"I call on everyone to be responsible, hoteliers, restaurateurs... It is essential that tourists, both French and international, get their money's worth. If this is not the case, they (professionals, editor's note) could be heavily sanctioned," she stressed. For its part, the DGCCRF has invited consumers, both French and foreign, to report any problem they encounter with a professional on the SignalConso website and application, also available in English.