Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

For Jennifer Iroanya, a 34-year-old publicist from Dallas, Texas, attending the Olympics to support Black female athletes—including Simone Biles and Sha’Carri Richardson—is a must-do, regardless of the hefty cost. 

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“It’s really good to see Black women who are making it.” Iroanya, who goes by Jeniro, says. All in, Iroanya spent roughly between $5,000-$6,000 to attend the Games this year, which does not include estimated food costs, or local transportation. “[Even] if it was too expensive, I wouldn’t have backed out. I would have figured out a way to make it happen.”

For the 2024 Paris Olympics, Iroanya’s spending is the norm. International spectators can expect to pay at least $5,000 to attend—including hotel, airfare, and event ticket costs—, experts say, though pricing largely ranges depending on the accommodation choices of attendees. Experts say that a trip to the 2024 Paris Olympics will be more costly than in years past due to the value of the host country’s currency and cost of living, though it’s difficult to make a similar comparison to the most-recent summer Olympics in Tokyo or the winter Olympics in China in 2022, which less people attended because of the pandemic. The cost of nabbing tickets to the Games, however, is still on par with other summer Olympics in Europe.

“It’s very similar to London [in 2012],” says Ken Hanscom, who works in sports and entertainment technology as the chief operating officer of Ticket Manager. (He is also a trustee of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Foundation.) Hanscom has attended every Summer Olympics game since 2012. 

Flights

Janice Moskoff, a 50-year-old travel writer and blogger based in Chicago who booked her accommodations in July 2023, paid $3,737 for roundtrip airfare for her family, including 160,000 airline miles. In total, however, she expects to spend at least $15,000 for the Olympics with her family—not including food.

The average round-trip airfare price to Paris is currently valued at $827, according to data by Priceline shared with TIME. 

On July 1, Air France and Transavia France published a press release saying that travel to and from the French capital was “lagging behind other major European cities.” It expects tourism rates to normalize after the Games end. “Part of the reason why is access,” says Hanscom. “There’s all the security zones that are there for the Eiffel Tower and some of the major landmarks… And I think people think, ‘Hey, because the Olympics are going to be there, it’s going to be more crowded. Why would I go?’”

Hotel costs 

Hotel costs are currently higher than average in Paris, but costs are shifting downwards. A 5-star hotel room price for August was valued at about €840 ($908) in mid-June, compared to the €931 ($1006) someone would have paid if they had booked on May 13, a Lighthouse report shows. “In some cases, [booking a trip] would be easier [now], less stressful, than if you were trying to do it six months or a year ago,” Hanscom says.

Moskoff paid nearly $5,000 to stay at a hotel in the Saint Germain de Près area of Paris that accommodates four people for five nights. Iroanya paid more than $2,000 for her lodging for six nights.

The average nightly hotel rate stands at nearly $400 currently. In 2012, London hotel prices for a four-star hotel room were anywhere from £200 to £415 (about $353 to $733, if you go by the 2012 conversion rate and account for inflation), according to Reuters,

France is already one of the top tourist destinations in the world, and has its peak season in the summer months of July and August. Thanks to the Olympics, which kicks off on July 26, the country is expecting to see anywhere from 2.3 to 3.1 million visitors. 

However, tourism rates in Paris are currently lower than usual because international tourists may be attempting to avoid large crowds flocking to the city for the Olympics, experts say. 

That may prove beneficial to those who book a trip to the Paris Olympics on a whim. Paris’ tourism bureau reports that international arrivals are down 14.8% for July, compared to the same month in 2023. Hotel booking rates for the first 10 days of July are forecasted to be at an average of 60% capacity, a decline of 10% from the year prior.

Read More: Your Guide to the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics: When and How to Watch—and What to Expect

Tickets to the Games

Tickets are another cost to factor in. Ten million tickets have gone on sale for the Paris Olympics, an increase of more than 2 million tickets compared to the 2016 in Rio and 2020 in Tokyo. Pricing largely varies by event. The women’s artistic gymnastics all around final has tickets ranging from €125 to €690 (about $135 to $746). Swimming semi-finals and finals are similarly priced, though lowest level tickets are €85 ($92). Prices may also vary based on whether it’s a women’s or men’s event. Men’s basketball tickets for the final cost as much as €980 ($1059) compared to women’s at €510 ($551). The men’s 100-meter final for Paris is also priced at €980 ($1059) for the highest-priced tickets. The same event was £725 (nearly $1,282, when accounting for inflation) in London in 2012, per the Guardian.  

Moskoff is spending a total of $3,204 for herself and her family on tickets for track and field, women’s water polo, and beach volleyball.

“The value of the host country’s currency significantly impacts the affordability of the Olympics for international visitors. For instance, during the 2016 Rio Olympics, the Brazilian real was relatively weak against both the euro and the U.S. dollar, making it more affordable for visitors,” says Sean Fitzpatrick, CEO of Lighthouse, a company that tracks data for the travel and hospitality industry. During the 2018 Summer Olympics, for instance, more than half of the tickets cost 70 Brazilian reals ($30) or less, and the cheapest ticket was less than $20.

For some fans, it will be worth it. “We are constantly amazed at watching the absolute best athletes in the world compete to claim first place,” says Moskoff. “It is as close to watching superheroes in real life as you can get.” 

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