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From Paris to Venice: in order to escape mass tourism, cities raise their prices

The Paris Tourist Office recently launched a photo competition with the objective of renewing its image. The City of Doges, on the other hand, is letting cruise ships go and opening up to yachts. To escape mass tourism, the most desired spots are raising their prices. Here's how it works.

Thibaut Mortier

By Thibaut Mortier24 novembre 2022

For many luxury shoppers, the best experience in a city is a night in one of the palaces (Shutterstock)
The Aman Venice Hotel is one of the most prestigious hotels in the city (Aman Hotels)

Today, the strategy adopted by the most popular tourist destinations resembles that of the major luxury brands. They all rely on pricing power, or the ability of a company or brand to raise its prices without affecting the demand for its products. I recently called the Aman Hotel in Venice, near the Rialto," says Thierry, who is passionate about the lake city. "It's a luxury hotel, the only one with a room whose ceiling was painted by Tiepolo. Before Covid, I slept there for a few hundreds of euros. Now they are asking 1,600 euros for the same room." A 300% increase in three years is ten times more than what the biggest names in luxury have been able to do recently (Chanel had increased some products by more than 30% in 2022). This is not a mistake, much less an accident, but the result of a global strategy by Venice. At the San Regis Hotel, still on the Grand Canal, this trend is confirmed: the most expensive rooms of the establishment, which easily exceed 15,000 euros, are most sought after: "People come to Venice from all over the world. Our clients don't count. They are Americans or Koreans. They want the most beautiful experience in the city." And, as in Paris, the most beautiful experience in the city is sleeping in palaces.

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Upmarket strategies for tourist destinations

The Aman Venice offers a room with a ceiling painted by Tiepolo (Aman Resorts)

Moving a destination upmarket or changing the perception of it is very difficult, it can take years

Timothée Gaget, president of the Artcher Communications Agency

In both cities that make the list of the world's favorite tourist spots, keeping count has become useless. Indeed, twelve new palaces have opened in Paris in just 10 years, or more than one new establishment per year. In Venice, luxurious palace renovations, the opening of starred restaurants, the return of the biggest luxury brands and new contemporary art foundations are common. "The city is increasingly welcoming to international brands," says Jasmine Spezie, director of a communications agency in Paris and Milan. From the Mostra to the Biennale, the municipality’s obvious strategy is to bring back customers with the highest purchasing power." To the detriment of large cruise ships, which, from now on are asked to dock elsewhere or tourists visiting for a day, who must now pay a visitor's tax if they cannot show proof of staying the night in a hotel onsite. If waiting lists have become a habit for luxury clients, they now also have to wait to go to Machu-Picchu, to spend a day in Porquerolles, or the Easter Islands... in addition to being very wealthy.

There is only limited access to get to Machu-Picchu (Shutterstock)

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