The new head of Monaco’s Tourism office, Guillaume Rose, and Cindy Hoddeson, Monaco's Director for Meetings and Incentives, came by Travel Agent’s New York offices recently to bring us up to speed on what’s happening with the Principality.
The most important element in attracting people to Monaco, Rose said, is finding the balance between old-world luxury and modern style. “We have to keep the original spirit [of the Principality],” he explained, “and attract the wealthy people with the best of everything.” But, he noted, while they want to “get back to the basics,” Monaco should not become a “museum,” but the right combination of classic and contemporary. "Monaco is for everybody, but not for every occasion."
To appeal to VIPs, he continued, the Tourism office is promoting the safety and security of the area. “It’s the safest place in Europe, if not the world. There are 600 security cameras and 800 police in an area the size of [New York City’s] Central Park. You can walk everywhere wearing all your jewels!”
In recent years, Monaco has seen a substantial increase in cruise travel—not just in numbers (150,000 to 400,000) but also in luxury levels. A full 90 percent of Monaco’s cruise traffic is now from luxury ships, and the remaining 10 percent is standard. Crystal Cruises, for example, tailored a cruise to Monaco for their top passengers recently. No budget carriers use Monaco’s ports, he noted.
To increase Monaco’s appeal to boating enthusiasts, the Principality will get a new yacht club designed by Normal Foster in 2014. The club will host events and exhibits, and Hoddeson predicted that it will become one of the top new gathering places in Europe. Several new restaurants from Michelin-starred chefs are also in the pipeline.