France is set to launch another battle in its war with giant U.S.-based homesharing businesses.
This time, the French government said, it plans to team up with the country's tourism industry to build an internet site whose ultimate goal is to grab customers away from the likes of Airbnb and Booking Holdings.
A Bloomberg report said the move is part of the country’s stimulus funding related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
France, a top travel destination, is looking to revive its tourism traffic as countries around the globe seek to emerge from pandemic shutdowns. Such Parisian sites as the Eiffel Tower, the Left Bank and the now fired-damaged Cathedral of Notre Dame are of course world famous — and help fuel the tourism ecosystem of hotels, restaurants and cafes.
And the tourism business has been hard hit by the pandemic.
One aim of the new home-rental website is to “regain” a tighter link with tourists, Eric Lombard, the head of French state-controlled financial institution Caisse des Depots & Consignation, said on French TV.
The platform will be made with the French government and the tourism industry, Lombard said. It will take “numerous” months to build to make it worthwhile, he said.
Airbnb has been fighting with the French government over such issues as providing data to tax authorities.
As reported in this space, the French market is worth $2 billion for the company. Airbnb charges up to 20 percent on rentals — and its bookings in France have been rising.
Also, a European court’s “guidance” could put a crimp in Airbnb’s business on the continent. In this case, Parisian officials were looking to protect the housing stock from being turned into short-term, Airbnb-style rentals.
And the Court of Justice of the European Union gave a nonbinding opinion in favor of the Parisian regulations.
The French case was brought by the owners of two studio apartments in Paris who had not gotten permission to turn their apartments into “short-stay furnished accommodation on the Airbnb platform,” the court said.