The Monaco Innovation Runway of Monacotech was the venue of a joint event hosted by the Monaco Economic Board (MEB) and the Club Eco Monaco – Nice Matin Group.

Business tourism represents one-third of tourism activity in Principality, said Guy Antognelli, Director of Tourism and Conventions of the Principality. Last year, 2022, was hit again by certain pandemic restrictions, especially during the first months, he said.

As for the first quarter of 2023, it is still below compared to 2019 with 28,504 overnight stays compared to 40,549 during the pre-Covid reference year. This is partly due to the fact that 20019 was an exceptionally good year but above all promotions conducted from 2020 to 2022 were logically less productive.

“But the prospects are excellent,” he said.

Each speech was preceded by a short testimonial video presented by organisers of major events taking place in the Principality. Luxepack, Aesthetic & Anti-Aging Medicine World Congress, One to One Retail E-commerce and the Monaco Yacht Show, all illustrated the many assets available to the Principality, including geographical location and ease of access.

Nice Côte d’Azur international airport is not only the second largest airport in France but also the second European business aviation platform. The Principality has well understood by becoming a shareholder itself during privatisation in 2017. Present at this Eco Club, Franck Goldnadel, Chairman of the Board of Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur confirmed the importance of business tourism, although difficult to assess precisely. Emphasising the great value of the regular link by helicopter between Nice and Monaco, he confirmed the efforts made to regain the fluidity of connections at the airport which has deteriorated due to the new rules that have appeared since the covid crisis. He also outlined the development of new destinations, starting with Atlanta, the main American hub.

Representing the hotel and catering industry, Pascal Camia, recently placed in charge of international development at Monte-Carlo SBM, and Guillaume Rapin, General Manager of the Novotel Monte-Carlo. illustrated the ability of the Principality to offer organisers turnkey events for delegates or exhibitors taken care of from morning to evening, where tailor-made rhymes with a remarkable quality/price ratio, which sometimes surprises the prospects approached.

But it was impossible to talk about this sector without mentioning the flagship that is the Grimaldi Forum. Sylvie Biancheri, its Director, recalled that the congress centre had closed for only three and a half months during the pandemic thanks to the agility of its teams but also that of the Monegasque authorities. The venue was able to offer very hybrid events to organisers very quickly.

Sylvie Biancheri and her teams are now looking to the future with the extension linked to the Mareterra project; the Grimaldi Forum will gain 6000m2 of space of exhibitions and more than 2000m2 of outdoor spaces in early 2025, enough to provide more space for events that are already present but also to seek more important new players.

The conclusion of the evening: Business tourism continues to contribute to the prosperity of the Principality.

PHOTO: Franz Chavaroche – Nice-Matin