Monaco: Small Country – Big Plans

Alena Donskaya, 02.09.2013 16:36
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On the 12th of September in Moscow, Monaco Tourist and Convention Authority is going to present its new program for developing the Principality’s business travel segment in the coming years. As they were compiling the program, the country’s travel authorities learned from the progressive experience of the US, France, the UK, Germany and Italy. TRN magazine took some time before the presentation to find out what Maroco is going to offer for this complicated, but promising market.

The principal aim of the program is to establish the country not only as the perfect place for tourism, but also as a unique venue for organizing and hosting high-level events (including tourist exhibitions). The primary focus of the campaign is incentivizing events in the sphere of medicine, information and communication technologies, finances and ecology.

Monaco takes a pro-active stance as regards developing the MICE sector. To that end, the Principality’s tourist authority is collaborating with all major market players and is promoting the segment in Europe and the US, and on the new markets as well, among which are Russia, China and India.

The country’s reputation

Monaco’s travel authorities have representative offices in Germany, the UK, Italy, Russia, UAE, India, Japan, China, Australia and the US.

Despite the small size – 2 square kilometers and 36,000 citizens – the country is among the most active participants of the MICE market.

The people in Monaco Tourist and Convention Authority are positive – the country is able to take on the competition in tourism, for a number of reasons. There is no doubt that one of the main calling cards of the Principality is its hotels – luxurious, stylish, with unmatched level of client-service. Each of them has state-of-the-art equipment for business events. Taken together, the Principality’s hotels offer 2,500 rooms. In other words, during the days of an event its participants ‘rent’ all of the country’s hotels, while the country itself turns into a luxurious seaside hotel complex.


Another trump card up the country’s sleeve is the perfect Mediterranean climate and 360 sunny days a year, which envelop any event in utmost comfort, letting the guests and participants not only take care of business affairs, but also have a great holiday.

Moreover, the Principality has a high level of security, which has lately become one of the most significant factors when choosing a destination. Also important is the minuscule size of the Principality, which is why practically any place there is within walking distance.

There are opportunities in Monaco that cannot be found even in some of the larger countries. The Grimaldi Forum – the convention center of the third millennium – was built in the very center of Monte Carlo and has been successfully functioning for a few years now. Its total area is 35,000 m², and its interior is comprised of customizable modules. This lends itself to the possibility of hosting any events: seminars, congresses, conventions, shows, exhibitions, product launches or gala dinners and big shows, which can all be held simultaneously. As for the communication capabilities, the Forum has the most advanced equipment in the world.

Eventful life of the country is another thing that draws business tourists to Monaco. There are plenty of festivals, sporting and other events that are held annually there.

‘Monaco is one of the sport capitals of the world: the country regularly holds sporting events, including the world-famous Formula 1 races, show jumping competitions, and tennis tournament Rolex Masters. We view our Principality as a multi-faceted economic hotspot. The country is rightfully considered to be the most dynamic employment market in Southern Europe, since there are more than 5,000 companies on this small strip of land. The leading business sectors of the Principality are healthcare, banking and finances, high technology, tourism, international trade, real estate. Fifty percent of all the MICE events in Monaco are devoted to finances, healthcare and IT, which are at the core of business travel. The new program exists not only to increase the number of events in the country, but also to improve their organization,’
Sandrin Kamia, the CEO of Monaco Convention Bureau, said in an interview with TRN international travel magazine.

According to her, another factor that helps to foster MICE in Monaco is that almost each and every event held here is officially supported by the government and the tourism authorities.

‘We act as the only coordinator in order to streamline communication and all the organizational activities during the events,’ added the head of the Bureau.

Monaco for business travel

Some of the more active participants of the business travel market today are Monaco, France, the US, the UK, Germany and Italy. As for the Russian market, the Principality authorities consider it to be among the most important markets for individual tourism.

‘Business travel is still nascent in Russia, but we are positive that there is potential here which we are not going to overlook. Given the scale of your country, it could become the Principality’s focus in terms of developing the segment. We think that it is only a matter of time before business travel flourishes in Russia. Russian tourists were among the first to come to Monte Carlo 150 years ago, and ever since then Monaco has been consistently meeting their expectations, and we are willing to go the extra mile to deliver on Russian business tourists’ expectations as well,’ underscored Sandrin Kamia.

She has no doubt that once Russian business tourists learn of all the advantages of Monaco, they will choose it for hosting their events.

Monaco Tourist and Convention Authority have informed TRN magazine that there are plans for carrying out a few infrastructure projects in the near future. More specifically, a new yacht club is going to be opened, which will serve as a unique place for business meetings, and the legendary palace hotel Hôtel de Paris is slated for full renovation next year.

Aside from that, a new three-star hotel, which will also be tailored to the needs of business tourists, is going to be built in Monaco in 2016.

Moreover, there is a massive project being realized aimed at enlarging the country by means of draining a part of the coast. As a result, from 2025 to 2035 the country is expected to get new territorial capabilities, but it is still too far off.

‘One would be hard pressed to find a destination with more opportunities for business tourists to host their events. The Principality does not shy away from competition with larger destinations. It is impossible to compare Monaco’s territory with that of Barcelona, Vienna, Berlin, Paris or London, yet they are our main competitors,’ says Ms Kamia.

She also told TRN that when compiling the program for fostering MICE segment, the Monaco’s authorities had in mind the progressive experience of other countries, such as the US, France, the UK, Germany and Italy, and also of the ‘new markets’, mainly incentive-oriented ones.

Travel scope to reckon with

Approximately 7 million tourists visited Monaco in 2012. The main travel markets for Monaco that year were Italy (18% of tourist flow), France (14%), the UK and the CIS (each with 11%), as well as the US (8%) and Germany (4%).

Last year 18% of all the country’s visitors were business tourists.


Also, last year Russian tourists spent about 62 thousand nights in Monaco hotels, which is 5% more than in 2011.

Russian market scale and key players

According to Sandrin Kamia, the UK, Turkey and Spain are currently the most active business travel market participants in Europe. Asian business travel segment is shared between Singapore and China. ‘The US market is largely self-oriented. There are thousand business events organized annually in large cities like New York and Las Vegas,’ she says.

As for Russia, experts forecast the year-over-year growth rate of business travel to be 15-20% on average. They also expect the MICE segment to take up 40% of the country’s whole travel market in the coming years. According to analysts, this growth is facilitated by the ‘innovative nature’ of the segment, gradual recovery of the global economy and business globalization in many fields.

At the same time Andrei Voronin, the owner of АТН Business Travel Solutions, told TRN that the Russian business travel industry is only on its way to proper growth.

According to the information gathered by our company, in 2012 the number of trips increased by 17%. The largest growth was due to Russian domestic trips. Right now the Russian MICE market volume is 300-400 billion rubles a year, which is more than, say, IT market,’ he said.

According to a World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) estimate, the business travel market volume in Russia will reach $18.4bn by 2020, given the YoY growth of 5.9%. Russia is among the countries where the segment will undergo the most active development.

Страны, регионы и города: Monaco, Russia
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