Monaco targets big groups

The Monaco Convention Bureau has unveiled plans to target the large groups market, after conceding that it has experienced a fall in business tourism since 2000. Although annual figures released at EIBTM showed hotel arrivals to Monaco increased overall by 18 per cent in 2005, head of tourism Michel Bouquier said that much of that figure was leisure-generated. Business tourism levels are 30 per cent down on six years ago, when the principality recorded 300,000 room nights from group business. Speaking to C&IT, Bouqier said: “Our leisure figures have contributed to a strong influx of visitors in 2005. But within the business tourism sector, we’ve struggled to attract the larger group sizes that gave us the record figures we experienced six years ago.” He attributed this to a trend in the industry for smaller group sizes, rather than the competitive edge of other destinations. “We know that the larger group business is still out there and are really looking to push that area,” he said. “One way is to look at emerging Asian markets such as Shanghai, where we opened an office in September. We´re also using trade shows to market our ´Monaco Meetings´ package, designed specifically for groups of more than 600.” Monaco has opened new hotels over the past two years, a factor that Bouquier believes will help to attract larger groups to the area. It has hosted Ernst & Young’s World Entrepreneur of the Year event and Medpi’s European trade show for new computer technology. Bouquier said MCB's goal was to regain the record rate of business tourism experienced in 2000 by 2008.

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