Green Meetings Q&A 2012 with Monaco Government Tourist Office

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Prevue asked Cindy Hoddeson, Director, Meeting & Incentive Sales, Monaco Government Tourist Office, for her thoughts on Green Meetings trends.

Cindy Hoddeson
Cindy Hoddeson

Q: What are some of the primary sustainability initiatives in place throughout Monaco?

A: Under the leadership of HSH Prince Albert II, Monaco has been a leader in the creation of sustainable programs and facilities. All public service vehicles are either electric, hybrid or run on bio-fuel. The cost of a bus ticket, including the “Bus Boat” water shuttle that crosses the harbor, sells for a mere two Euros. Electric bicycles are available for free throughout the Principality. And the Grimaldi Forum Monaco became one of the first European convention centers to obtain the ISO 14001 environmental management certification.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 of Monaco’s 4- and 5-star hotels are following the green path. The 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 light bulbs are in place.

Q: What types of educational experiences are there revolving around environmentalism?

A: Monaco’s local destination management companies offer a variety of green activities. One option is a tour that combines a cooking class 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, organic bread baking and tours through national parks in Provence.

Q: Are there any fun cultural venues that promote eco-awareness in the destination with group space?

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.

On the ground floor, the Lecture Hall, offering grandiose proportions and rich classical furniture and decor, is available for seminars, presentations, gala dinners and cocktail receptions. This spectacular historic venue can accommodate 264 people in theater style, 250 for a sit-down dinner and 500 for a cocktail reception.

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