Monaco's path to economic recovery
Nine months on from the start of a global lockdown, the path for recovery is still very much unclear. But many places are making strong headway into their recovery strategies. Laurence Garino, Head of Monaco’s Welcome Office, shared how the Principality is adapting to support their residents and businesses during the crisis.
Thank you for joining us. It seems likely that many people are reassessing their priorities in regard to the quality of their life and work environment in the light of COVID-19. What opportunities do you see emerging from this – and will this in turn cause any of its own challenges?
Indeed, the COVID-19 health and economic crisis has affected the Principality just like every other country, forcing companies, entrepreneurs, employees and clients to change the way they used to live, work and consume.
Now that Monaco’s economic fabric is striving to get back on its feet, our real challenge is to facilitate recovery for all actors, while striking the delicate balance between health constraints and recovery measures.
The Principality is seizing the moment to speed up several initiatives that have already been implemented and to launch more equally essential initiatives in other areas. These initiatives, part of the recovery plan orchestrated by the Prince’s Government, are organized around four main axes:
- The National Green Fund, which aims to speed up energy transition
- The Blue Fund, which assists Monegasque businesses with digital transformation and creating a digital economy in Monaco
- The White Fund, which supports building and construction activity within the Principality,
- The Red and White Fund (the Monaco flag colours) which aims to support the local retailers and incentivize the purchasing power in the Principality.
Although, this huge plan is a great challenge in itself, it brings out a lot of opportunities and ways for Monaco to strengthen its attractiveness both at a local and international scale, allowing its actors to recover and be more prepared, equipped and safe.
Do you think Monaco’s high commitment to environmental sustainability - Green is the New Glam, for instance - will contribute for a faster recovery of the local tourism industry?
The National Green Fund, mentioned above, aims to speed up the actions taken by the Ministry of the Environment and the Mission for Energy Transition to reduce Monaco’s greenhouse gas emissions and set the Principality on a course to carbon neutrality.
As the action plan focuses on road transport, waste treatment and energy consumption in buildings, it will contribute, without doubt, to a faster recovery and will benefit everyone living, working or visiting the Principality.
What is the Welcome Office going to do in terms of evaluating and increasing the value of their reputation after COVID-19?
The Welcome Office is the preferred interlocutor for anyone who wishes to relocate to Monaco as a resident or as an entrepreneur, providing them with a range of tools, key professional contacts and useful information. It is also the key contact for the Principality’s retailers; it coordinates business projects and enhances communication between the main actors of this sector.
The COVID-19 crisis marked a turning point for the Welcome Office, because it has been designated by the Prince’s Government as one of the main contacts for businesses and employers since March 2020. It is responsible for implementing all the economic and financial measures. More than ever, the Welcome Office has become a real partner for each company or sole trader in the Principality.
I was reading about the Monaco Welcome Label certification that you launched a few years ago. Can you explain what your businesses need to do to receive this?
The aim of the Monaco Welcome Certified label is to share standards for welcoming clients across both the private and the public sectors, in order to set up a “Made in Monaco” welcome.
Obtaining the label is a volunteer-based process that relies on a state of mind and a genuine wish for self-improvement. It unfolds in three steps:
- First, an assessment questionnaire must be answered in order to evaluate the quality of the welcome offered by the establishment.
- Then, if the establishment passes the assessment with a score higher than 90%, it will be able to apply for the certification by registering online and then launch the procedure to validate a self-assessment.
- If successful, the establishment will be Monaco Welcome certified for 3 years.
Considering the current context, it is also important to highlight the other certification recently created by the Government: “Monaco Safe.”
Establishments open to Monaco’s public during the present crisis have been given the opportunity to receive the “Monaco Safe” label, a certificate and government guarantee stating that they adhere to the preventative measures implemented for clients’ and visitors’ safety.
Obtaining the label relies on a free, voluntary process via an online platform. Applicants must submit an application attesting to their implementation of the health protocol.
Once the business has received the label, random checks are being carried out to guarantee they are making sustained efforts to ensure customers’ safety.
How are you working with your private sector now to develop safer practices for a pandemic-era? What’s your top tip for collaborating with your private sector?
The biggest advantage of Monaco is its small surface area. Indeed, its two square kilometres enable a unique proximity management, allowing the Government to deal quickly and efficiently with any issue. This relationship between public and private sectors has allowed the Government to take pragmatic and flexible decisions during the crisis, very quickly.
Have you found that the queries you receive from prospective investors / start-ups has changed since COVID-19?
Surprisingly, the number of business projects encountered this summer is still high. This clearly shows that, even if the Principality is suffering from the crisis, it yet remains an attractive and safe business location.
What’s next for Monaco then?
Even if the Principality has now launched its Recovery Plan, it is still very hard to have a picture of the future, due to the quick evolution of the health context worldwide.
However, the Principality proved to its residents, employers and workforce, to be capable to adapt its system to the crisis, protect its populations and sustain its economic actors, while still preserving its social and economic model.
Thanks for sharing that with us.