Estelle Antognelli: Going Green with Tourism

There is no doubt that the “green” DNA flows through every corner in the Principality. As one of the important pillars of the economy, the hospitality industry echoes the directives of the Prince’s Government in pushing the bar of excellence for sustainability.

In showing the dedication of the tourism sector to become more environmentally-conscious, the Monaco Government Tourist and Convention Authority created a department dedicated to Sustainable Tourism in 2016. Leading the movement is Mrs. Estelle Antognelli, committed to advocating for a reduction in our carbon footprint during the frequent travels of all the colleagues from the tourism bureau. Estelle is also committed to showing off the “green” assets found in the Principality and how they can be promoted on equal grounds with its other tourist attractions.  

We speak with Estelle to find out what are the current and future plans for a “greener” tourism in Monaco.

Bonjour Estelle, can you tell us when and how did sustainability and environmental consciousness become a national cause in Monaco?

The protection of the environment has long been taken into account in the Principality and this notion has become one of Monaco’s major preoccupations since the advent of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco. He has defined a strong environmental policy that is not only followed by his government but also by the private sector. There has been an accord from all the partners, be it companies or the public, and naturally the tourism sector also takes part.

What were the first groundbreaking measures or policies implemented in Monaco?

The environment is indeed the priority of the Principality, especially since HSH Prince Albert II has set concrete objectives: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 compared to 1990 and to be carbon neutral by 2050, an ambitious goal that requires the support of all.

For many years, we have been working with all stakeholders to promote a more sustainable tourism landscape. With the early introduction of environmental certifications, hotels in Monaco have been instrumental to implement the measures that make the Principality a role model today, inspiring international clients and locals alike.

Are there brands or companies that have distinguished themselves well in efforts of sustainability?

The tourism sector in Monaco as a whole is strongly committed to an environmentally-friendly approach. In the hotel sector, more than 82% of the rooms in Monaco have been ‘green’ certified. The Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort and the Monte-Carlo Beach Hotel, in particular, received the ‘Green Globe Gold Award’, after receiving “Green Globe” or “Green Key” certifications for 5 consecutive years. The hotels in Monaco also set up internal “green teams” dedicated to sustainable development of their establishments.

A few years ago, the Monaco Government Tourist and Convention Authority and its hoteliers introduced a pact for Energy Transition dedicated to the hotel industry and 96% of them have signed this pact.

Restaurants are also taking part, more and more we see chefs in Monaco working with locally sourced, organic and sustainable produce and who fight against food waste as well.

There are other types of companies dedicated to sustainable development which settled down in Monaco. Amongst them is ‘Terre de Monaco’, which 4 years ago started introducing urban farming in Monaco, so today one can find vegetables produced in Monaco. 

What current projects or what is the big thing that you are busy with at the moment?

There are a couple of projects which we are undertaking to promote sustainability in the workplace and the tourism of Monaco at large.

Firstly, we are making increased efforts to minimize paper production and consumption through our Paperless Policy. A lot of work has been done at our reception desks to reduce and limit the distribution of brochures and leaflets. We encourage using emails for communication and information are given on tablets instead.

Secondly, we are working on the promotion of the natural heritage of the Principality of Monaco. In collaboration with the Department of Urban Planning, we promote the Principality’s still little-known gardens and “green” heritage. After the creation of the Heritage Path in 2018, guided tours can be organized to better understand these “green” assets of Monaco. At my Sustainable Tourism department, we organize “Monaco Green Days” to raise awareness among visitors and locals to encourage more “green” tourism options in the Principality. 

Business tourism is also getting more and more involved and since 2018, the Monaco Convention Bureau has been a member of the Global Destination Sustainability Index. This organization assesses the most responsible business tourism destinations and establishes a ranking. We have been following their recommendations to continuously improve every year.

What are the next milestones for Monaco in 5 years’ time?

We will continue to promote our destination and its different assets by focusing on the key themes of sustainable development: mobility, biodiversity, recycling, waste management, sustainable foods and hotel offerings.

We are also implementing key indicators for sustainable tourism. This project is done on several levels. At the international level, we work with the United Nations World Tourism Organization and European Travel Commission. Whereas in Monaco, we have set up a task force made up of several government departments.

Finally, we want to engage with our visitors and raise awareness on sustainability. We are working with our committed hotels to find new solutions and innovative ways to improve.

Watch the video interview with Estelle here.

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