Using sustainability to regain ground

Faced with a 63% “free fall” in accommodation revenue, Monaco’s Tourism and Congress Department plans to reconquer the market by “rethinking the model” and place sustainability at the heart of its global strategy.
Monaco’s Department of Tourism and Congress (DTC) held its annual meeting on 14th December, with assessment, strategy and responsible tourism on the agenda.
Due to the health situation, representatives of the international offices were not physically present for the meetings, but were able to join in via the Grimaldi Forum’s new digital platform.
Only the opening presentation, ‘Assessment and Strategy’ mixed face-to-face and distance participation at the Grimaldi Forum.
In the presence of Minister of Finance and the Economy Jean Castellini and Ambassador to China Marie-Pascale Boisson, Director of Tourism and Congress Guy Antognelli revealed a detailed assessment of the consequences of the pandemic on Monaco as a destination and outlined the strategies put in place for the year 2021.
“With Covid-19, the global tourism industry has been impacted well beyond what was felt during the last two major crises, in 2001-2002 following the World Trade Centre attacks and in 2009 following the financial crisis,” said Guy Antognelli.
He revealed that at the end of November 2020, hotel room occupancy figures for the year were down 59%, room prices were down 10.5%, and revenue per room was “in free fall of 63%”.
Before laying out the strategy for the coming years, the DTC director commended the work of the tourism and congress department teams, both in Monaco and abroad, and all professionals in Monaco’s tourism industry, “who were keen to constantly adapt, preserving the destination’s positioning and seizing the opportunities created by the crisis while looking ahead to recovery.”
That recovery, he said, involves various strategic initiatives and phases to “reconquer the market”, the reconstruction of which “requires a rethinking of the model”.
So, when will Monaco return to pre-crisis levels? “The International Air Transport Association estimates that by 2025, or 2027 at worst, air capacity will be re-established, which represents 75% of our customers,” said Mr Antogenelli.
While the future remains uncertain in this regard, there is one thing that is certain for the DTC. Any long-term recovery strategy must be rooted in social and environmental responsibility.
The basis of this strategy will be a White Paper, which will be created by the DTC in cooperation with the Energy Transition Mission, the Environment Department, various tourism partners of the Principality, and François Tourism Consultants who specialises in sustainable development.
The paper will highlight responsible tourism in commercial development strategies “to participate, directly or indirectly, in all the sustainable development objectives set by the UN (…) [and] to better respond to the demands of a sensitive and demanding clientele on this theme.”

Photo: Government Communications Department / Michaël Alesi