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Tourism, Development and Sustainability in Monaco: Comparing Discourses and Practices

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Monaco became a tourism destination for wealthy visitors in 1863 when ‘the Magician of Monte Carlo' agreed to manage the new ‘Société des Bains de Mer'. This gaming company provided Monaco with most of its revenues until the eve of World War II, although various princes had already started to diversify its economic base. The principality can survive as a separate entity only if it can support itself financially. Its leadership has stated in numerous venues that their foremost concern has been to apply strong sustainability principles. It would enhance those elements of the natural environment that could be incorporated in Monaco's progressive urbanization but it has never targeted ecotourists. Local residents, though (because) few in number, have been incorporated in the planning process. The scarcity of its resources has forced the principality to ensure the continued vitality of its attractions for both visitors (which now number in the millions) and investors, which it has successfully maintained (and even increased) over the past 140 years. However, contrary to much discursive rhetoric, (strong) sustainable development practices have sometimes had to adapt to economic realities.
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Keywords: Sustainable development; luxury tourism; quality of life; urban planning

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Geography, The University of Waikato, New Zealand

Publication date: 2005-08-01

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