“Monaco is the perfect destination for Canadians”, especially with 300 days of sunshine
Vanessa Gonzalez-Hernandez, Visit Monaco’s North America Travel Trade Manager

“Monaco is the perfect destination for Canadians”, especially with 300 days of sunshine

Monaco, the world’s second-smallest country, packs plenty of charm, beauty and pure wonder into its two square kilometres. In this edition of Take 5, Vanessa Gonzalez-Hernandez, Visit Monaco’s North America Travel Trade Manager, tells Travelweek readers all about it.

1..Monaco is one of Europe’s true gems. What message do you want to get out to travellers – and travel agents – about this special destination?

“Monaco, the second smallest country, has been an aspirational symbol of luxury and excellence for over 150 years. The Principality, nestled between sea and mountains, offers a myriad of unparalleled experiences. A destination so enchanting that it will encourage travelers to savor every moment of their journey.

“The Principality is a country rich in history, with 700 years under the Grimaldi family dynasty. This is why culture is so ingrained in Monaco’s roots, hence is always celebrated. With a varied cultural offering, from art to education exhibitions, impressive museums like the Oceanographic Museum or Royal Highness Car Collection Museum, to being home to legendary landmarks like the Monte-Carlo Casino or The Palace.

“The destination hosts some of the finest cultural offerings from January to December. It is the perfect destination for exceptional events at places like the Opéra de Monte-Carlo, exhibitions at the Grimaldi Forum or the Oceanographic Museum, and performances of The Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra or the Ballets de Monte-Carlo. The cultural and historical offerings in Monaco are grand.

“Monaco is the place where sport, culture, and entertainment are king. Monaco hosts exciting events like the Tennis Rolex Master, Grand Prix, and The Yacht show, as well as one-of-a-kind events, like the Monte-Carlo Summer Festival, Concerts at the Prince’s Palace, Monte-Carlo Television Festival, Rose Ball, or the Monte-Carlo Jazz Festival. There’s always something happening in Monaco, no matter the time of the year.

“In Monaco, gourmet cuisine is taken seriously, and there are infinite gastronomical possibilities for all ages in our two square kilometre country. Monaco is a country with the most Michelin-starred restaurants per square meter in the world. The destination offers over 170 restaurants throughout the Principality, Michelin-starred restaurants, exotic eateries, sumptuous brunches, fine dining on top-class terraces, local experiences, farm-to-table options, and sustainable and responsible cuisine. Dishes from near and far promise a memorable journey into a land full of flavors.

“One of Monaco’s core values is proactively committing to the environment and constantly developing sustainable practices. The H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco has pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Thanks to this ambitious initiative, the Principality works closely with the hotel sector to ensure environment-friendly measures are being applied. Monaco has 2202 certified bedrooms (Green Globe, Green Key, Planet 21), 88 % of its hotel capacity. 97% of hotels have signed the National Pact for Energy Transition, comprising 2,418 bedrooms.

“Additionally, several different soft mobility and intermodal solutions have been developed to make getting around in Monaco easier: the development of pedestrian paths (80 public elevators, 37 escalators, 8 travelators), MonacoBike (an electric bike rental service availability in 42 stations through Monaco), Mobee (an electric car rental service), a solar-powered water taxi, and hybrid buses that run on diester, generating fewer greenhouse gas emissions. To date, 2,000 m² of solar panels have been installed on the roofs of the Principality. One of the latest developments is the development of a Carbon Footprint Calculator, and now travelers can estimate their carbon footprint and receive recommendations on how to offset these.

“To stay in Monaco is to be dazzled by the shimmering blue waters of the Mediterranean, mesmerized by the grandeur of the Prince’s Palace, enchanted by the world’s most beautiful cars rolling along characterful cobbled streets, hypnotized by the iconic Monte-Carlo Casino, marveled by the exhibits at the Oceanographic Museum, impressed by the local Monegasque experience, and fascinated by fine dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant. Monaco offers unique experiences because Monaco is a place like nowhere else.”


2. Many travel advisors might think their clients can’t afford Monaco. Can you address that misconception?

“Monaco is known for its magnificent 5-star properties. However, Monaco also offers hotels in the 4 and 3-star categories, which offer more affordable pricing for those travelers that want to experience Monaco in a more budget-friendly style. Just like Monaco offers an array of fine dining and Michelin-star restaurant alternatives, it also has casual restaurants and local eateries.

“There are diverse experiences to discover Monaco for free: Visit Monaco-Ville, the Old Town where the most important attractions like the Prince’s Palace, The Cathedral, and the Oceanographic museum are. The Changing of Guards in front of the palace takes place daily at 11:55am, a spectacle free of charge. Monaco gardens are also free: Japanese Garden, The Rose Garden, Little Africa, and many parks. Larvotto beach and its newly renovated promenade are also open to all travellers. The public beach offers multiple dining options overlooking the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.

“Walking around the glamorous Monte-Carlo district is available to everyone, window shopping is free, and visitors can enjoy the incredible luxury cars rolling down the streets. The Casino Monte-Carlo is also open to visitors, even those who just want to visit it and not gamble, the entrance is 17 euros, and you can be awed by the incredible architecture. Strolling by the main harbor, Port Hercules is a must, and it’s also free. Many restaurants, shops and the Royal Family’s Car Collection Museum is a must when walking around this area. Yacht sightseeing is available in this area, and it does not cost a thing. Lastly, Tête de Chien is a perfect place to see amazing panoramic views of Monaco and the French Riviera; highly recommended for those into hiking. Monaco has developed several pedestrian walks to make the Principality accessible; visitors can also take the bus or rent an electric bike, which is budget-friendly.

“As you can see, Monaco offers several alternatives for those traveling on a budget and wanting to experience the best of the Principality.”

3. Monaco is world famous for its casinos and its Grand Prix car race. While those are big draws, what other attractions does the country have to offer?

“Monaco is known for its luxurious experiences, which there are many. But there’s also a side that many do not know or consider; Monaco offers unexpected experiences:

  • Visit a Made in Monaco company: Chocolaterie of Monaco, La Brasserie de Monaco, L’orangerie Monaco
  • Explore the Fointvieille district: where most Monegasques reside and where the second harbor is located. Surrounded by the sea, the district of Fontvieille has its own little port, the perfect place for a lunchtime or evening stroll. The boats and restaurants along the quays are a picturesque sight, overlooked by the mighty cliffs of the Rock. You’ll find various places to eat here, with culinary offerings to suit all tastes.
  • Discover Monaco by foot: Monaco is a very walkable destination. Monaco has 80 public elevators, 37 escalators, and eight travelators.
  • Bike around the Principality: Monabike offers 390 electric bikes Located in 42 stations throughout the Principality.
  • Visit the many beautiful gardens of Monaco: Without a doubt, the Principality of Monaco and its surroundings harbor natural treasures. The Principality has established a solid garden and park development policy, with over 250,000 m2 for a city-state of 195ha, which puts its second in Europe, just after Vienna. Precious rare species harmonize with flowers and plants, symbolically simple and fresh.
  • Shop with the locals at the Condamine Market: La Condamine Market is part of Monaco’s heritage. It represents the authentic heart of the Principality, where Monaco’s population likes to gather.
  • Enjoy fresh seafood: Seafood lovers and connoisseurs head towards the Port de Fontvieille in Monaco, and meet at Les Perles de Monte-Carlo, an oyster bar located at the very tip of the pier. Brice Cachia and Frédéric Rouxeville, both certified biologists, launched their sea products refining enterprise in 2011 with a goal: refining oysters and other fine seafood products. Sitting on wooden benches, in a genuine ambiance, discover a corner of Brittany, right below the Prince’s Palace! Savor our fine products, while sipping on a glass of organic wine.
  • Cultural events: explore art or education exhibitions at places like Grimaldi Forum, visit impressive museums like the Oceanographic Museum or Royal Highness Car Collection Museum, attend a concert at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo, enjoy a performance of The Monte-Carlo Philharmonic Orchestra or the Ballets de Monte-Carlo


4. What resources does Visit Monaco make available to Canadian travel agents?

“We currently offer trade resources for Canadian travel advisors at our https://traveltrade.visitmonaco.com/. We also have plenty of information, news, and the latest developments on our visitmonaco.com website.

“We are thrilled to announce that our Monaco Expert platform, oriented to the North American trade segment, will be live in May of this year. The Monaco Expert Learning & Sales Companion provides a complete training, marketing, and sales tool for travel advisors.

“Three multi-modal chapters lead advisors through a curated collection of the best images, videos, and product information on Monaco’s key visitor attractions, experiences, and accommodations while offering exclusive insights and sales tips from local suppliers, as well as top-selling advisor peers. Complete the training chapters by answering a few questions, and the Sales Companion portion is unlocked.

“The Retain, Promote, and Sell channels are a 24/7 resource for advisors to maintain expert knowledge, start conversations with clients and prospects by sharing engaging creative assets, and ultimately make bookings with deep sales support tailored to advisor partners. A complete Directory of destination suppliers with searchable filters rounds out the program.

“The Monaco Expert platform is a native iOS and Android app, so advisors can learn, promote, and sell anytime, anywhere, and on any device.”


5. What can you tell us about Monaco vis-a-vis the Canadian market?

“Canadians can reach Monaco via Nice Côte d’Azur Airport. Air Transat and Air Canada offer a direct seasonal flight from Montreal, allowing other cities in Canada to connect from there. Upon arrival in Monaco, travelers can take a spectacular helicopter ride, now operated by BLADE, to the Principality taking approximately 7 minutes. Or enjoy a beautiful scenic ride that takes about 35 minutes (depending on the season).

“Monaco is the perfect destination for Canadians. The destination offers 300 days of sunshine, mild winter and fall, and beautiful spring and summer weather.”

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