10 Jan 2014

Guillaume Rose, President of Monaco Government Tourist and Convention Authority

Effortlessly enchanting, Monaco continues to entice the glamorous international traveller year after year. Guillaume Rose, President of Monaco Government Tourist and Convention Authority reveals to Naomi Leach how the destination is inviting new markets, including the Middle East, to discover its timeless charms

TTG: Monaco is renowned worldwide as a destination able to attract the elegant and affluent traveller, how does the destination capture this high-end market and how does it continue to evolve its offerings to ensure loyalty and repeat visits?

Monaco has bet on the ‘Wow effect’ since Monte Carlo was first created 150 years ago. The history began when the first casino opened in 1863 and 150 years later the legend lives on. 

Monaco is a place where there is always something happening; it could be concerts, shows, exhibitions or sport events. Every year, 700 events of all kinds are organised in Monaco which makes an average of two events per day. Therefore, coming to Monaco offers the assurance that you'll never get bored.

TTG: What elements do you feel make Monaco a distinctly appealing destination for the Middle Eastern luxury traveller? 

For the Middle Eastern traveller, Monaco is the place where you can stay with your family in a safe environment, with activities for everybody and a large offer of luxury hotels and facilities available. In the meantime, Monaco's surroundings are varied, stretching from the French Riviera to the Italian coast. It offers an amazing range of activities and leisure pursuits. Clients will also enjoy astonishing gastronomy and exciting night life.

TTG: Are there any major tourism development projects underway in Monaco and how are you planning to promote these to the MENA market?

The iconic Hotel de Paris will go through a complete renovation from next year. The aim of this extensive renovation programme is simply to become the best hotel in a major city in Europe. In the meantime, Monaco has also begun to re-think entirely its major shopping facilities. It will create a complete new luxury shopping district, which will keep its original name Golden Square. Golden Square will become one of the main references in terms of high-end shopping in Southern Europe. 

TTG: What key ingredients make Monaco an enticing year round destination?

Spring and summer are the most appreciated periods of the years, and autumn is the peak season for meetings and conventions. But Monaco is attractive all year long, and winter is a very appealing time of the year. On top of an ideal mild climate, visitors benefit from a vast array of events organised in the city, which remains very active at this time of the year. Winter is generally the time for the arts, with concerts and exhibitions taking place. It is also the best time to enjoy our deluxe hotels and palaces and our wonderful setting between sea and mountains. Ski stations are just one and a half hours driving distance from the Principality. It is easy to imagine the pleasure of spending a mild evening in Monaco after having spent an exciting day skiing in the mountains. 

TTG: Do you feel that classic European destinations can still compete with the growing appeal of emerging international luxury destinations? 

European destinations have to compete with more and more exciting new destinations, especially in the Middle East, but also in China, Asia and the Pacific region. But more and more people travel each year, and there's still room for the destinations which offer their guests a proposition related to their expectations. In our case, these have been always very high, and we know how to go beyond it, thanks to our real tradition of customer service. Changing constantly, but keeping the basis – luxury, events and an element of surprise is the key to our success. Monaco tourism performs well, but we know that we have to keep evolving in order to stay very competitive.

TTG: Offering two different definitions of luxury, how do you feel that Monaco and the Middle East can inform each other about the luxury hospitality industry?

When Monte Carlo opened in 1863, it was a new destination. Our bet on luxury and events has been a success for 150 years. Since then, our guests have found friendly staff, dedicated to make their stay most comfortable and enjoyable, while maintaining a luxury environment with great facilities. 

One could say that it looks a lot like what the major tourist cities in Middle Eastern and North African are doing today.  We hope so. We can give and take lessons from them.  I think that we still have to learn a lot from each other.