Lagardère Travel Retail and Eurostar are among those in the French duty free community to turn their attention to the 2024 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games activity, with Lagardère describing its initiative as its ‘most commercially ambitious’ temporary project to date.
Analyst Euromonitor is forecasting that the Games could boost Paris tourism spend by €4 billion. The Olympics will be held in and around Paris from 26 July to 11 August, with the Paralympics following from 28 August to 8 September.
Insights point to a global TV audience of four billion people, with a “well-executed” event set to “skyrocket” France’s standing as a destination from 2025.
Over 15 million spectators, both domestic and international, are expected to visit Paris in 2024, said Alexander Göransson, Senior Consultant at Euromonitor.
“As of April 2023, it was reported that 1,000 Parisian hosts were taking bookings on AirBnb for the weeks of the Games but this is expected to grow exponentially, while hosts are increasing their prices by a factor of three during the Olympic weeks.
“The Games will also provide a boost to transportation providers and consumer food outlets, who will be catering for both day trippers and overnight visitors.”
2024 Olympic Games: A ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experience
Lagardère Travel Retail started its preparations in the summer of 2022, said Vincent Romet, Lagardère Travel Retail France CEO and Regional COO, Middle East, told TRBusiness.
Activity already underway includes listing officially licensed products at Aéroports de Paris stores.
“It’s an historic event, a once-in-a-lifetime experience to live in one’s own country!” Romet continued.
“This is undoubtedly the most commercially ambitious temporary initiative we’ve ever undertaken, with over 150 stores involved, the engagement of employees from all departments, and a promising revenue forecast!”
He added that Lagardère had signed a deal with the Olympics Organizational Committee to open several official Paris 2024 stores, including one at the Eiffel Tower.
“Our first opening in November at the very dynamic Lyon Saint-Exupéry Airport demonstrates that the Paris 2024 Games are spreading their footprint throughout the country, and we are proud that Lagardère Travel Retail France has been chosen by the organising committee to provide the millions of expected travellers with the most complete Supporter experience!” Romet continued.
Airports have ‘much to prove’
Euromonitor’s Göransson added a note of caution to the celebratory tone. He noted that the country’s airports had “much to prove” during the summer Olympics and Paralympics period.
“Airports will be busy and non-Olympic travellers are being advised to avoid them three days before the opening ceremony and after the closing ceremony,” he continued.
“Arguably, Paris is the hub of the European high speed rail network, with connections to four European capitals – relieving pressure on Paris’s airports.”
Rail operator Eurostar is playing its part. Earlier this month it released early ticket sales from 25 July to 9 September. Seats are priced from £49 each way.
It is the official travel partner for Team GB and ParalympicsGB and will transport over 600 athletes to the events.
A total of 110 return trains with capacity for 88,000 customers will run between London and Paris each week during the Games and summer season.
“We are preparing for more than one million passengers to travel with us to the French capital during these exciting and unforgettable events,” said Francois Le Doze, Eurostar Chief Commercial Officer.
Sustainability is also a consideration. “We have released Eurostar tickets early to provide our customers with the best chance to plan their trip in the greenest way possible to support their Olympic and Paralympic teams, as well as their favourite athletes.”
Euromonitor has also pointed to the Games’ sustainability claims. Göransson notes that France ranks 11th in the analyst’s Sustainable Travel Index 2023, with the country trending upwards.
“Paris is constructing an Athletes’ Olympic Village to the highest environmental standards and it will be within walking distance of the aquatics centre and athletics events at the Stade-de-France,” Göransson commented.
But it isn’t all straightforward. “Other Games venues are vastly spread out across Paris and the surrounding Ile-de-France area. The organisers plan to overcome this with extensive use of helicopter transfers, flying in the face of its sustainability ambitions.
“Investing €1.4 bn in cleaning the river Seine to enable swimming events was to be one of the legacies of the Games.”
On balance, he expects the Olympics and Paralympics will provide a boost for tourism and hospitality in France.
“Euromonitor International expects a steady increase in inbound visitors to France and its capital city from 2025.”
Earlier this year, airport operator Groupe ADP appointed Lagardère as the 50% co-shareholder in the Extime Travel Essentials Paris joint venture, set to go live ahead of the Olympic Games.