What’s New in Monaco

 

Opera de Monte-Carlo
Opera de Monte-Carlo in Monaco.

 

In the months following the Royal Wedding of Albert II and Charlene Wittstock, Europe’s playground has been reinventing itself for both travelers and agents alike. With a new agent-focused website and an increased focus on cruise business, Monaco is once again a top travel destination in Europe.

New Travel Trade Website

Looking to improve its relationship with agents, Monaco’s tourist office recently launched monacoforagents.com, a website dedicated to helping agents market the principality to their clients.

The site provides travel agents with up-to-date content on the principality, including travel specials, events, sample itineraries, brochures, pictures, videos and general information. The site also highlights a series of popular webinars featuring presentations by hoteliers, as well as RSS feeds that deliver Monaco news straight to agents’ smartphones (for agents on the go, of course).

“By creating a forum dedicated to travel agents, we wanted to recognize their importance as valued partners,” Maguy Maccario, director of the Monaco Government Tourist Office, North America, explained, noting that the office worked to make sure agents could find the information they needed in “no more than two clicks.” Maria Tuttocuore, the office’s senior executive for trade, web and technology, told Travel Agent that ease of navigation was a crucial component of the design: “Those who go to our website shouldn’t think twice before finding what they need,” she said.

The website is the latest in a series of initiatives designed specifically for travel agent partners.

The second series of webinars for travel agents will launch in January 2012, providing VIP access and an inside look at hotels and attractions in the principality. MGTO also issues a monthly e-newsletter for travel agents to get news, information and offers.

 

Agent Advice

Joan Werner of Valerie Wilson Travel specializes in selling Monaco, and has noticed a substantial increase in clients intrigued by the principality. “I’m working on a honeymoon for a young couple,” she says, “and they said they wanted to visit Monte-Carlo. In days and years past, you thought of sending middle-aged or older couples who like to gamble and love Princess Grace. But now young people want to go there, too.”

The appeal, Werner says, lies in the old-fashioned glamor about Monaco. She explains, “We’re so tech-y and impersonal now, but at the end of the day, people still are sentimental and romantic, and they love some of the old-world things like the royalty and a famous casino. Glamor is back and Monaco is very glamorous.”

“It has so much to offer,” she continues, “and the hotels, through thick and thin, have endured. The Hotel de Paris and the Hermitage have so much class, and they’re so fresh.” For four-star options, Werner recommends the Meridien Beach and the Monte Carlo Beach Club.

While Monaco is only a 30-minute drive from the French city Nice, Werner suggests booking a flight on Heli Air Monaco, a helicopter service that connects Nice-Cote d’Azur Airport to Monte Carlo in seven minutes.

 

Cruising to Monaco

 

Yacht
Yacht show at the harbor.

 

On the waterfront, Monaco’s Port Hercules Harbor has been expanded to accommodate twice as many yachts and larger cruise ships. The construction of a breakwater has doubled the capacity of the yacht-filled inner harbor from 350 berths to 700 within the breakwater (there are an additional 30 berths in the outer harbor). The added capacity also allows two larger cruise vessels to dock along the breakwater with immediate access to the new cruise terminal.

Visitors arriving by cruise ship can cross Monaco’s harbor in 10 minutes by solar electric bus boat. The bateau bus (bus boat) crosses the port from the cruise ship Terminal to Quai KennedyDigue Sud. Tourist day passes are available and children under seven can travel free of charge. The Monaco tourism office has a booth set up at the docking pier where visitors can get information and help for planning their visit.

 

Port Hercules Harbor
Port Hercules Harbor in Monaco.

 

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