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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

French minister, tour pros denounce planned increase in hotel tourist taxes as dangerous

PARIS - French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has blasted plans to raise by more than five times hotel taxes paid by tourists, saying the move would be dangerous for tourism and France's stumbling economy.

Lawmakers from Fabius' Socialist Party initiated two increases in the tourist tax, passed last week in parliament's lower chamber.

If confirmed by the Senate, they could force tourists to spend up to eight euros ($10.90) per night in hotel taxes, instead of 1.50 euros currently, with the price rising with the hotel category. Another increase adds two more euros for Paris region hotels to pay for transport improvements.

Fabius said in a statement Sunday the increases are "dangerous and totally contrary to the promotion of tourism, a priority for jobs." He joins tourist professionals decrying the moves.

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