Monaco promotes itself as destination for upper middle-class India

November 24th, 2010 - 7:57 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 24 (IANS) The European principality of Monaco, known as the playground of the rich and the famous, is promoting itself as a high-end tourism destination for the double-income upper middle class business and leisure tourists.

The world’s second smallest country - synonymous with the Monte Carlo Formula One Grand Prix, jazz festivals, luxury yachting, casinos, high fashion and luxury sea-facing resorts on the French Riviera - hosted a series of road shows Nov 21-25 in Mumbai and Delhi to liaise with the travel trade and hospitality fraternity in the country to increase the number of Indian tourists to the principality.

The Monaco government has tied-up with the high-end Monte-Carlo-based SBM resorts and Cox & Kings to promote destination tourism in India. The SBM Resort, which manages five luxury properties in Monte Carlo, owns the Hotel De Paris, one of Europe’s oldest hotel in Monte Carlo set up in 1864 by Prince Charles III.

Founded in 1866, Monte Carlo is one of the administrative areas of Monaco known for its casinos. It is named after Prince Charles III of Monaco and is perched on an escarpment located at the foot of the Maritime Alps.

According to Jean Francois Gordon, communication and press director of the Monaco Government and Convention Authority, the number of hotel arrivals which is a little less than 1,000 now should go up to 2,000 this year.

“India is a huge niche market for us. We have a specific strategy to reach out to the superior middle class travellers and the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibition) business groups in India. We started with setting up two tourism cells - in the capital and Mumbai respectively in January,” Gordon said, addressing the media in the capital Wednesday.

Citing statistics, he said “there was a 44 percent increase in the number of Indian tourists to Monaco this year compared to 2009″.

Indians also stay longer in Monaco than tourists from other parts of the globe — clocking three days on an average compared to the global average of two.

Last year, Monaco drew 4.5 million day travellers and four lakh cruise travellers.

“In 2011, we are expecting 600 additional Indian tourists to Monaco when a leading Indian citizen hosts a family wedding in the principality,” he said.

“We are shifting our focus from millionaires to price conscious travellers - especially in India. Monaco can offer them diversity in form of arts, culture, sports entertainment, holistic health and skiing facilities. Contrary to perceptions that Monaco is an expensive destination, it is on a par with many other European destinations,” he said.

Citing a general cost break-up, Rajeev Nangia, country head of the Monaco Government Tourist Bureau, said: “Indian tourists on an average would have spend nearly 300 Euros for deluxe rooms a day and another 600 Euros for travel and holiday related activities for a three-day package”.

“For Indians, Monaco is easily accessible from Nice, London and Dubai,” he said.

Monaco has been the staple of many Hollywood movies like Monte Carlo in 1930, James Bond’s “Never Say Never Again”, “The Golden Eye” and Alfred Hitchcock’s “To Catch a Thief”.

Last year, an Indian tele-serial “Humsafar” was shot extensively in Monaco.

The history of Monaco and the ruling Grimaldi family dates back to centuries. The port of Monaco was first mentioned in the historical records dating back to 43AD during the reign of Julius Ceasar.

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