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Monaco is a popular world luxury resort, attracting affluent tourists to its casino, rich cultural schedule, and pleasant climate. Situated in the heart of the Riviera—the narrow coastal strip extending along the Mediterranean from Hyeres, France, to La Spezia, Italy— it benefits from the proximity of the renowned French resorts of Saint Tropez, Antibes, Cannes, Nice, and Menton. The latter 2 cities are connected by 3 scenic highways, which run through or near the Monaco territory and its chief tourist quarter of Monte Carlo along the sheer cliffs of the Maritime Alps. Both private and business tourism are thriving in the principality, and there are about 2,500 hotel rooms, most of which are in the 4-star category or higher. In 1993, 601,111 rooms were occupied overnight, resulting in an average annual occupation rate of 48.3 percent. For several years, the government has been making considerable efforts to attract more business tourists in order to increase hotel occupation, since occupation by the private clientele is essentially seasonal. Among the points of interest in Monaco are a cathedral, a palace in the medieval and Renaissance styles, and a world-renowned oceanographic museum established in 1910. A major source of revenue is the famous gambling casino. The Monte Carlo Opera and Philharmonic Orchestra offer ballet and music events, and the museums, spas, beaches, flower gardens, marinas, fine dining spots, luxury boutiques, and vistas all contribute to the attractions of the principality. The Monaco Grand Prix and the Rally Monte Carlo are popular annual automobile-racing events. The Societe des Bains de Mer, a company partly owned by the government, operates the casino and most of the hotels, clubs, beaches, and other places of entertainment. There are also notable foreign direct investments in the Monaco tourist industry.

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Additional Photos by Barbara Stec (Sonata11) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2741 W: 59 N: 2894] (33161)
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