An insight of the economic history of Monaco...

Monaco has come a long way since its economic beginnings. A few words on the economic history of the Principality might help to understand its exceptional development into a dynamic, experienced and diversified economic entity.

In 1850, leisure tourism, along with the Monte Carlo Casino, represented the Principality's main economic activity. After the creation of the casino and the "Société des Bains de Mer" (SBM) at the end of the nineteenth century, three factories were set up in the Principality: a flourmill, a brewery and a chocolate factory. In 1906, the State financed and completed the first land reclamation area in Fontvieille.

Today, the direct and indirect effects of tourist activities on the Monegasque economy are put at 11%, with tourism and the hotel industry now overtaken by financial activities and international trade.

Even more surprisingly, gaming revenue from the "Société des Bains de Mer" casinos represents a mere 4% of the State's resources, while the value added tax revenues represent more than 45%.

During the twentieth century, the Princes have always used skillful judgment to equip the country and have foreseen the challenges of the future with great clarity. From a small State on the Mediterranean coast, Monaco has become an important banking center and a major destination for business tourism, whilst creating a dynamic, innovative, competitive and top-quality economic entity.

A rich source of company know-how

The Principality of Monaco generated a 13.2 billion euro turnover in 2009 thanks to 5,050 companies and more than 44,265 jobs in the private sector.

With its pacific territorial expansion policy, its cosmopolitan population and economic structure made up of small and medium sized companies, highly profitable businesses and high-rise industrial workshops, Monaco’s economic reality sets the example for originality and ingeniousness.


125 nationalities in 487 acres (0.77 mi²)

Monaco has an exceptional multicultural population of over 35,881 inhabitants, according to the 2008 census. This rich concentration of cultures and know-how creates unusual entrepreneurial energy. Monaco makes a large contribution to the wealth of neighboring regions, especially in regards to employment for over 30,000 French and 5,800 Italian nationals who come to work in the Principality every day.

A dense and unexpected industrial structure

In an astonishing way, Monaco has encouraged the development of industries which have been able to adapt to local constraints: located right in the center of urban areas, manufacturing workshops are constructed in high-rise buildings. Furthermore, major international companies have set up their research centers here.

This industry covers a very wide range of sectors: printing, cosmetology, pharmaceutics, chemicals, plastic processing industries (automobile equipment, mechanical and electronic components), building materials, household appliances, etc.

Highly profitable businesses

The development of service businesses in the Principality were first and foremost linked with banking and financial operations. Today, we are witnessing a general increase in high-level services, such as management consultancies and professional firms. We are in particular seeing growth in the shipping business with nearly 200 companies. This sector includes shipping brokers and agents, chartering companies, international transporters, cruise lines and marine surveyors. The development of the Hercule port is bound to speed up this growth.

Furthermore, the Principality has a high-quality telecommunications infrastructure. Alongside traditional operator services, Monaco Telecom is developing activities which are turned towards international markets and new technologies. With such excellent infrastructures, we can expect the fast development of services linked to the new economy.


Facilities for all types of tourism

Due to its geographic location, Monaco is a dream destination for leisure and business tourism. Tourism represents 11% of the total economic activity. Alongside individual tourism, business tourism accounts for 18% of hotel nights registered. This new type of tourism is perpetuated by a wide range of facilities for business events, such as the opening of the Grimaldi Forum and building projects for several new hotels.

Monaco has increased the surface area of its territory by 25% since 1965

The Principality of Monaco has given itself the means to tackle a major constraint: the lack of space. Thus, Monaco has enlarged its territory land reclaimed from the sea.

The most important expansion operation was the creation in 1973 of the Fontvieille open area, the industrial heart of the Principality.

The Principality is continuing this strategy by investing more than a third of its budget in important sites, implementing state-of-the-art technology. Such examples include the underground construction of the railway station, enabling the freeing of land for development where the former railway lines once ran, and the extension of the Hercule port with a semi-floating breakwater.

Land freed up from where the former train system ran has allowed many parts of the Principality to become available for construction. A new Yacht Club is on track to be finished by the end of 2013. The second phase of the Port Hercule expansion is now underway as well. Furthermore, a double-skycraper is being built in the Monte-Carlo area. The ‘Odeon Tower’ will be 558 ft high (among the 10 highest building in France). The building will be a mix of habitation and work office.

Natural know-how in building and engineering works

Mountainous relief, a seismic area, the reclaiming of land from the sea… so many difficulties have been overcome thanks to complex and innovative technology, developed with constant concern for preservation of the environment and carried out within a framework of long-lasting development.



13.2 billion Euros

Number of Registered Business


Assets managed by the 75 banking and financial establishments

75,37 billion Euros

Active Population              (Private sector)




Surface area

0,77 sq.mi


Copyright Chambre de Développement Economique de Monaco, Département des Finances et de l’Economie, Direction de l’Expansion Economique