For more than five years, Guillaume Rose has been at the forefront of the tourism industry in Monaco. With approximately 5,700 jobs, the market accounts for around 10% of the gross domestic product of the principality and is thus the second largest employer in the country.
Monsieur Rose, for the last five years you have been the director of the tourism office in Monaco. What has changed in that time?
Since the beginning of my term, we have seen 4 to 5%more visitors each year. We are concentrating more and more on luxury tourism by constantly improving the services we provide. The internal stability of our country and the security prevailing here are important arguments. 2015 was the best year yet [2016 statistics are yet to be completed].
Competition is tough in this industry. How does the principality position itself, what clientele would you like to reach out to and with what strategies?
Monaco is not a private club and is open to any visitor. Of course, we attach great importance to those in the higher tiers. Our country inspires people to dream and if you count it as a part of the Côte d’Azur, it is the most popular destination after Paris. From a marketing point of view, we conduct about 50 campaigns per year worldwide including gala evenings, press events and other presentations to promote Monaco. In addition, our tourism office has 10 branches around the world such as in New York and London.
What nationalities are visiting Monaco today?
Three quarters of those who come to Monaco are individual visitors - also cruise passengers who arrive in peak season - and the remaining are those who come to participate in congresses, typically during the winter months. France ranked the highest during 2015 following by the UK, Italy and the USA. Germany and Russia have been in joint fifth place for some time. High calibre events such as an Indian wedding last October that brought in 3,500 guests are also important.
Has the terror attack in Nice had any affect?
So far, we’ve seen little impact on the European, Australian and Brazilian markets. The number of visitors from Japan, however, have fallen. In 2015, it was number 15 on the list of visiting nationalities.
To what extent is the Chinese market important for Monaco?
In China, Monaco is not particularly well-known, but we are trying to change that through promotional efforts. Rather than focusing just on China, the entire Asian market is very interesting for us. Before, we just had a branch in Shanghai, but now we are also present in Singapore and have an office in Beijing. We’re also looking at other countries such as the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Korea and Vietnam. Recently, we boosted our promotions in China with a major event ties to the Monaco Yacht Show.
If Monaco doesn’t modernise, it will become a museum.
What are the advantages to companies for holding their congresses in Monaco?
There is no better deal! Monaco is a much more inexpensive destination than Paris, London or Milan. In addition, everything can be done on foot in a matter of minutes. The infrastructure here - places such as the Grimaldi Forum - is suited in every dimension to hosting a congress or large-scale event. On top of that, there is (again) security and a certain glamour. There’s also an increasing mixture of business and leisure so families of those who come can enjoy themselves too. In short, Monaco is the perfect place to work!
At the moment, however, we only have 2,500 hotel rooms including the renovated Hôtel de Paris so we can host events with a maximum of 4,000 people. Having 4,000 rooms available would be ideal as unfortunately we have to turn away many prospective clients. 92% of the rooms are located within the three, four and five star hotel bracket.
What are your thoughts regarding the development revolution in the famous Carré d’Or by the Monte Carlo Casino?
I am in favour of the new project. To me, it seems like a positive development. In addition, we will also have a new space to hold events. If Monaco doesn’t modernise, it will become a museum.
How do you see 2017?
I am really very confident for 2017, I think our country has a bright future. The work in the Place du Casino will slowly move towards competition and the Larvotto quartier will open two new restaurants - one Moroccan, one Indian - which are important cuisines for these markets. Furthermore, we are working on creating an even better welcome for our visitors. All of the employees in this industry should at least speak English!