Monaco is a Mediterranean country the size of Central Park, surrounded by France on three sides. It has been independent for 700 years, not taken the short occupation by Napoleon into account. In 1297, the buccaneer Francois Grimaldi seized the fortress of Monaco from Genoa, by posing as a monk.
In 1863, the Grimaldis founded the Societe des Bains de Mer, which built and runs the country’s Spa and Casinos. For the next 80 years, the country has a reputation of being a sunny place for shady people.
When prince Rainier came into power, he implemented a clever marketing plan to make Monaco prosperous.
He rebranded the country from unsavory to glamorous through his marriage to the beautiful
and rich movie star Grace Kelly from then on known as Princess Gracia.
The wedding itself (sponsored by MGM which paid for the wedding dress) was a PR success – 30 million viewers worldwide.
The entertainment segment was created with the establishment of several annual festivals, tournaments and events, such as the Monte Carlo Television Festival, tennis tournament, Formula 1 Grand Prix, Red Cross ball, Rose Ball and the Circus Festival.
The Societe des Bains de Mer was reshaped and currently owns and operates four casinos, four luxury hotels, twenty restaurants and nightclubs, a health spa, a conference center and a golf course.
The tax haven segment is the result of the transformation of Monaco in a fiscal paradise by liberalizing of the principality’s taxation, corporation & banking laws resulting in no tax on income, capital, investment transfers or share transactions.
Out of the 32,000 inhabitants, only 6,000 are Monegasques; the rest hails from 122 countries, most predominantly from France and Italy.
Especially France is not too happy about this – calling the Disney-like country a lure for money-laundry and white color crime. For the non-Monegasque residents, the country not only ensures that they don’t have to pay taxes in their home country, but it also guarantees absolute safety due to a network of surveillance cameras.
The real estate segment is the result of Rainier’s relentless and successful efforts to reclaim land from the sea. He expanded Monaco’s area by one fifth and allowed the building of high-rises obtaining the nickname “the building prince” in the process.
By shrewd marketing, Rainier was able to turn a country on the brick of bankruptcy into one of the richest in the world. Due to the colorful antics of its female royalty and its tax exiles, Monaco hasn’t been successful in shaking off its kitschy and slightly tacky image.
The new ruler is very much aware of this – he announced that he wants to make
It is will be interesting to see how Rainier’s successor will market the country in the near future and coming years.
He announced that he wants to clean up Monaco’s image, shaking its shady and operetta-like reputation. He wants to be a modern and dynamic leader of a respected country.
Unfortunately, he started his reign by announcing having a child out of wedlock just before his official inauguration, followed by hinting that more announcements of this kind might follow.
Time will tell if this was a savvy move on his part or just another colorful episode in the history of this scandal-prone principality.It will be interesting to watch how Albert will manage and market Monaco.