In this InFocus Q&A, we spoke with Cindy Hoddeson, director of marketing and incentive sales for the Monaco Government Tourist Office, about Monaco’s tradition of innovation.
Prevue: How is innovation defined throughout Monaco?
Hoddeson: Monaco and its Monte Carlo district are synonymous with innovation. In 1863, the Plateau des Spélugues, on which the Casino was built, was used to cultivate traditional Mediterranean species: orange, lemon and olive trees. Prince Charles III initiated the creation of a new kind of life for the Principality through the innovative building of a casino.
The press of the day noted the Sovereign’s ambitions for the town: “The new Casino launched by the Société des Bains de Mer will soon rise from the ground in monumental proportions. Around the Casino, fine hotels will be built, having nothing to fear by comparisons with those that have been opened in Paris, London or New York.”
Five years after the first stone was laid, the Casino was inaugurated, in the spring of 1863, to brilliant success. This extraordinary enterprise played a large part in the birth of Monte Carlo. This fundamental philosophy continues today with the introduction of modern developments and trends—particularly in the area of sustainability and protecting our natural resources.
Are there any tours or experiences available to planners that showcase this firsthand or on an experiental level?
The Principality of Monaco has been at the forefront of implementing measures to protect our environments. Incentive and meeting participants should head to the Oceanographic Museum and Institute founded by Prince Albert I, a scientist and explorer, and perhaps one of the world’s first environmentalists. Cocktails can be organized in the Museum’s aquarium and dinners in the Conference Room where the Prince would give lectures on the findings of his expeditions. All public vehicles in the Principality are either electric, bio-fuel or hybrid. Participants can explore Monaco on Solex electric bikes or via a Twizy Renault electric car.
Are there any local venues whose design and ambiance seem made for inspiring new ideas?
The Grimaldi Forum Monaco, our convention and cultural center which opened in 2000, is one of the greenest venues in Europe. The architects addressed environmental issues in the design of the center’s insulation, energy and air condition.
Water from the Mediterranean is used for cooling and heating the building. Monaco’s new Yacht Club designed by famous British architect, Lord Foster was inaugurated in June. The building’s architecture and design symbolizes Monaco in the third millennium, looking ahead to the future and the sea.