Prevue asked Cindy Hoddeson, Visit Monaco’s director of meetings & incentives, her thoughts on sustainability trends for 2011.
Q: Are there any developments presently underway to help planners reduce their meeting’s carbon footprint?
A: Monaco is reducing its carbon footprint in a variety of ways. The cost of a bus ticket, including the “Bus Boat” water shuttle that crosses the harbor, has been decreased to just one Euro. Electric bicycles are available for free throughout the Principality. All public service vehicles are either electric, hybrid or run on bio-fuel.
Planners can compensate for the ecological impact of their events through carbon offsetting, part of a sustainability program supported by the Prince Albert II Foundation.
In return, programs are officially designated as Carbon Neutral.
All Monaco’s 4-5 star hotels are following the green path. Fairmont Monte Carlo offers a guide called Eco-Meet divided into four areas: Eco-Accommodation, Eco-Cuisine, Eco-Service and Eco-Programming.
The Environmental Charter of Monte-Carlo SBM includes 23 measures covering areas such as energy and water consumption, reduction of green gas emission, and use of recycled paper and eco-friendly products. Le Meridien Beach Plaza offers the option of keeping linens for several days, and low watt lightbulbs are in place.
Q: What types of group experiences are popular that educate attendees about the importance of sustainability?
A: Monaco’s local destination management companies offer a variety of green tours and activities. DMCs offer tours that combine cooking classes using local and seasonal produce, an organic lunch at a gastronomic restaurant, and a visit of the city by electric car. Other green activities include eco-friendly games on an island, a visit to an oil mill, and organic bread baking.
One can also organize a variety of tours through national parks in Provence to increase public awareness on environmental protection.
Q: What are some creative group venues and attractions that educate attendees about the importance of sustainability?
A: Founded by Prince Albert I in the early 20th century, the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco is known for its prestigious setting, famous aquarium, historic collections, themed exhibitions, and famed director Jacques Cousteau (from 1957 to 1988).
This very popular museum hosts a permanent collection featuring archives, photographs and giant skeletons. On the lower level, the world renowned aquarium gathers 400 fish, 300 invertebrates and 100 coral species. It also features the Shark Lagoon, a giant 20-foot deep shark tank with 12-inch thick glass windows.
The museum offers interactive workshops for small groups to help raise awareness about the beauty and fragility of Mediterranean ecosystems. Exclusive “Behind-The-Scene” VIP tours can also be organized for small groups. They consist of captivating tours of the areas, usually closed to the public, reserved for quarantine, acclimation, treatment and breeding of species.