Paris: 95% of Infrastructure Ready for Olympic Games Enthusiasts© Getty Images

The city of Paris, set to host the Olympic Games after 100 years (last held in 1924), has almost all the infrastructure in place to tackle the century's most significant event. No major changes or additional hotel spaces are needed due to its extensive existing infrastructure, as stated by the Paris Region Tourist Board.

The French capital will host the XXXIII Summer Olympics from July 26 to August 11, along with the XVII Paralympic Games scheduled from August 28 to September 8, 2024. Despite the century-long gap since its last Olympic Games, Paris, unlike other host cities, already possesses the hotel and alternative accommodation infrastructure for the significant event. "We only need to build the athletes' village and a pool, that's all," said Christophe Decloux, CEO of the Comité Régional du Tourisme Paris Ile-de-France, during the World Travel Fair held at the ExCeL Convention Center in London.

New hotels have opened in 2023, and more will follow in 2024, but without the need for new hotel development as often happens when hosting such events. Paris is a tourist powerhouse with a rich cultural history and reputation. According to Forbes, the capital of France is highly admired for fashion, culture, history, and, of course, gastronomy. It leads the world in tourist numbers, according to the World Tourism Organization (WTO).

Additionally, Decloux mentioned that tourism executives in Paris focus on ensuring that the Paris Olympic Games leave a legacy, a concern for most Olympics held in the last 30 years. "Paris already welcomes approximately 50 million tourists annually, so the games are not about attracting a larger number, and London was the same," he said. He also asserted, "We are not so concerned about first-time arrivals in Paris but rather about the 80% of repeaters. We know that everyone will want to see the Eiffel Tower at least once in their lives."

The shift in traveler behavior is significant: "Travelers now identify in terms of what they do, not always where they go," he said. "The order of booking a trip used to be flights first, then accommodation, but now, very often, the event comes first. The incremental value of events cannot be underestimated."

Joss Croft, CEO of the UKinbound trade association, worked for VisitBritain when London hosted the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012. He agreed with Decloux's conclusion that the biggest challenge in organizing events is the event's legacy: "The UK's brand is history, heritage, and tradition, so we were concerned about whether there would be brand alignment with Londoners or displacement during the two weeks of the games, but that didn't happen," he said. "Do your legacy work before the games start, not after."