"Rare are in Europe those who, like Emmanuel Mongon, know how to take on a problem that is not necessarily well expressed by the operating company and turn it into an attraction that seduces the audience. Emmanuel Mongon has led those development projects with energy, rigor and innovation."
Opened in 1989, Parc Asterix has celebrated its 30th anniversary. From 1989 to 1995, Emmanuel Mongon was the first Director Design and Development of Parc Asterix, in charge of the full reengineering of the newly opened French theme park near Paris. The annual attendance of Parc Asterix increased from 1 million in 1992 to 1.8 million in 1995. Parc Asterix became and still is the 2nd most attended theme park in France. The park generates 120 m€ revenues with 800 employees. Parc Asterix is the flagship of the theme park division of the group Compagnie des Alpes, also the leading operator of ski areas in the world.
"A hallmark of Emmanuel Mongon is his extremely open-minded attitude and ability to adapt to different cultures and local contexts."
Best EMEA regional theme park (under 1,5 million visitors) 2020 (Parkworld Excellence Award)
Best European Theme Park (under 1 million visitors) 2020 (European Star Award)
Best Holidaypark Germany 2020 (Parkscout Awards)
Best EMEA Roller Coaster 2020 (Parkworld Excellence Award)
For a great example of a leisure site succeeding in a mid-size market, you may want to visit Tripsdrill, which has celebrated its 90th jubilee and is still privately owned. The theme park is situated near Stuttgart, in a region of Germany known for the highest standards of manufacturing and quality of life (Mercedes, Porsche). The park is highly regarded in the theme park industry due to its systematic search for innovations, which eventually became standards in the industry. Emmanuel Mongon has worked side by side with the founder, his three sons and the current third generation of owners for more than 25 years.
"Your efforts and vision were instrumental in repositioning Sentosa into a world-class lifestyle and leisure destination. Both our annual island attendance and group profit hit record highs for the year 2006 at 5.7 million and US$900 million respectively. Sentosa’s success today would not have been possible without your contribution and encouragement."
In 2000, Sentosa Island developments had ten years of mixed results. For the Singapore Government, the mission was to get a true assessment of the island and its potential by a panel of international and local experts and eventually relaunch the development of Sentosa. Our contribution included evaluation of the situation, creative brainstorming, definition of a new strategy, reorientation towards local residents, changing access procedures, evolution of uses, planning zones and operational management of the island.
Today, Sentosa is Asia’s leading leisure destination and Singapore’s premier island resort getaway, located within 15 minutes from the central business and shopping districts. The 500-hectare island resort is home to an exciting array of themed attractions, award-winning spa retreats, lush rainforests, golden sandy beaches, resort accommodations, world-renowned golf courses, a deep-water yachting marina and luxurious residences – making Sentosa a vibrant island resort for business and leisure. Making Sentosa its home, too, is Singapore’s first integrated resort and casino, Resorts World Sentosa, which operates South East Asia’s first Universal Studios theme park.
Plum Village comprises several mindfulness practice centres created by world-reknown Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh.
The development master plans designed by Happier World for three monasteries were instrumental to get zoning permission for much needed accomodations and infrastructures and an unprecedented amount of financing through donations.
Facilities are designed to support and blend with the monastic life and guests retreat programmes.
Happier World created also a pop-up mindfulness practice centre for corporate events.
Plum Village is the home and monastery of the Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, who "taught the world mindfulness" (Times Magazine). "Thich Nhat Hanh shows us the connection between personal, inner peace and peace on Earth" (His Holiness the Dalai Lama)."Thich Nhat Hanh defends a modern buddhism (Le Monde). "This buddhist monk is an unsung hero in the world's climate fight" (Huffington Post).
Beyond personal development, "Mindfulness" is increasingly being practiced in corporations, educational institutions and the health sector. Plum Village has been invited to offer a day of mindfulness at major tech corporations, the World Bank, and even at the Vatican with Pope Francis.
Plum Village has been rated #2 world-best meditation centre by CNN Travel. It is open for retreats to people of all origins and ages, including families with children.
"With Emmanuel Mongon and his team, we benefited from the internal vision of true industry professionals. For the first time in 10 years, we had a stronger position and were able to negotiate with satisfactory results for our banks. We strongly recommend Imaginvest to any investor wishing to enter this industry."
Mission (brand Imaginvest): Due diligence, expertise and special advisor to the banks through refinancing negotiations.
Achievement: Deal signed between the banks and the Disney Corporation.
"Emmanuel Mongon and his team have developed a very coherent master plan, within very tight deadlines, which today allows the Cité des Sciences to have a solid foundation to develop a major strategic project, which will ultimately allow for a new relationship with its visitors. They have been able to transpose practices from the leisure world, while retaining the identity and positioning of a flagship cultural establishment in France."
"Emmanuel Mongon has made it possible through its experience and engineering to identify a strong general concept based on the principles of simplicity and clarity which are essential for visitors to more easily appropriate the vast and complex building of the Cité des Sciences while finding more comfort and friendliness in the spaces and services intended for them. Cost optimization has been a constant concern in order to develop a project as close as possible to the needs of visitors and the financial capacities of the Cité des Sciences. The programming mission, carried out over 14 months, also made it possible to bring together all the staff involved, in order to share the diagnosis and proposals. The success of such a project, strongly involving the operation, depends very much on its understanding and internal acceptance, Emmanuel Mongon and his team have shown great professionalism in this field."
Frédéric Poisson, Programme Director.
Cité des Sciences is the 7th most attended visitor site in France and the largest Science Centre in Europe
Great attractions and visitor experiences need a solid foundation. Emmanuel and his team were central to create this foundation that makes challenging turnaround possible and a long-term investment strategy feasible.
Kongeparken is the only amusement park in the world that holds the theme of teddy bears. We recommended this concept because the new owners of the park, the Lund-family, were the first in Europe to import teddy bears from America, and started the import in the late 1800. In 1997, they were known in Norway for organizing yearly a teddy bear hospital where children can bring their mascott for a medical check-up ... with real doctors! The park has a BearBotel where your teddybear can check in for a spa treatment, while you enjoy the park :-)
Despite an extremely limited market potential (250 000 inhabitants) and previous failure, the new family owners acquired the park in 1997 and implemented the full Imaginvest methodology.
Assisting the new owners to take full advantage of the acquired assets, we did the master plan, business plan, themeing strategy, new identity and logo.
In 2008, Kongeparken was named best park in Norway, while the three leaders in the country are much larger.
"The evidence and relevance of solutions that only very great professionals know how to offer"
"I had the opportunity to see you and your team at work alongside me in the Eiffel Tower project. And I have to say how much I appreciated your professionalism and creativity in extracting the best from a leisure site, both for visitors and for investors. You have indeed integrated a unique combination of methods and techniques in the areas of project design and economics. I was particularly sensitive to your involvement by holding out to support the position of the investors that we were."
Jean-Louis Alliot, CEO, GCE Bail, Groupe Caisses d'Epargne
The Concept was followed by a mission Master Plan "Visitor experience, flow and waiting times", for the operating company SETE (Société d'Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel).
A detailed audit was followed by a program of creative development of new attractions and marketing strategy. In six months, the park attendance increased by 28 % and profits by 32% (in an economic context where the attendance of the other German theme parks remained stable).
Missions: Creation, detailed design and implementation oversight of new rides and advertising campaigns.
. Phase 1: Biggest increase of attendance among all German theme parks
. Phase 2: In the context of increased competition with the arrival of the leading brand Warner Bros Movieworld in the same market, the park was able to maintain the attendance at the level of the previous year, which was a record year.
The City of Vienna hired Emmanuel Mongon as Master Planer of the Prater for three years. This mission was considered one of the most difficult and complex of the leisure industry. At the end, 100 sub-projects had been successfully implemented, including the creation of a city-owned management company operating on the site or an array of new visitor comfort facilities.
Opened in 1766, given by the Emperor as an amenity for the population of Vienna, the Prater is one of the oldest leisure sites in the world and the oldest city leisure park in Europe. The Prater lost its glamour and appeal in the second half of the 20th century. The capital city owns the grounds and wanted to upgrade the Prater, but the decision power resides with the 80 tenants with unlimited rental contracts. Yet, the 3-years mission achieved to develop a master plan and in parallel implement successfully 100 subprojects.
Examples of achievements:
. New city-managed and on-site operating company, new information system, new site and infrastructure plans, new database
. Measure of attendance, visitor surveys, dimensioning factors, increased private investment
. New urban zoning, new car-free area, moving casinos, new parking and access road, new delivery rules
. New visitor flow, entrances, places, toilets, streetscapes, lighting, landscaping, trash bins, sound regulations, mobility system
. New information services, visitor plan and leaflet, new security, new maintenance team
. 5 new rides, new shows, new events, new children theater, new F&B, new kiosks, new shops
. New logo, enhanced themeing, character, new sponsors, replacing weakest offers, site cleaning, international benchmarks
Vitam is a mixed shopping and leisure development in the Geneva region. To revitalize less attractive volumes, Imaginvest created and built a Family Entertainment Centre (FEC) on 1200 m2 . Vitam'Ludic opened on time and on budget.
Imaginvest produced and owned also in Vitam Ludic a laser maze attraction. Like in the movie, the visitor needs to reach a target quickly but without touching laser mazes! This is an amazing experience for people of all ages. Each year, 20'000 people play on only 20 m2 !
"Happy visitors are the foundation for Tivoli’s good results"
Tivoli Gardens was created in 1843 by Georg Carstensen. His benchmark was the Jardin de Tivoli created in 1766 in Paris (itself named after the gardens of the 16th-century Villa d'Este near Rome). Today, the location of Tivoli Gardens in the center of Copenhagen is incredible, adjacent to the central train station and the city hall! But the challenge for every development is the extremely tight space.
Emmanuel Mongon created for Tivoli Gardens a concept and master plan for three intertwined major attractions. The project is not yet implemented.
Imaginvest produced and owned also in Tivoli Gardens a laser maze attraction. Like in the movie, the visitor needed to reach a target quickly but without touching laser mazes! This was a really interactive and physical experience for people of all ages. Each year, 20'000 people played on only 30 m2 ! After a few years, the site needed to replace the laser maze with a new attraction for the visitors.
Tivoli Gardens is always evolving without abandoning its original charm or traditions. Georg Carstensen said in 1844: "Tivoli will never, so to speak, be finished", a sentiment echoed just over a century later when Walt Disney said of his own Tivoli-inspired theme park, "Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world."
"The master plan and visitor plan developed for our castle theme park by Emmanuel Mongon helped us pursue our aim to keep the castle in the family while generating revenues for the restoration and maintenance of the estate."
The Earl of Bentzel-Sturmfeder-Horneck, transformed in 1975 the gardens around his 1422-built castle, into a theme park. The intention was to generate revenues for the restoration and maintenance of the castle and estate.
His son Benedikt is pursuing the business and continues to offer a variety of theme park experiences in this authentic castle park.
"What can we learn from leisure parks? Good marketing! The job of Emmanuel Mongon was to raise the awareness for the hidden jewels or USPs of the city and to exploit their potential for effective city marketing."
Mission: The goal was to revitalize the city centre. Bern city center is a UNESCO World Heritage. The City of Bern wanted to have a fresh view with some lateral thinking from outside of the traditional tourism, urban planning, architectural, heritage, shopping, or infrastructures approaches. The initial objective was to find three relevant suggestions. Actually, 20 propositions of Emmanuel Mongon were kept and implemented.
Achievement: Several years later, at the "City in Transition" congress organized in Germany by the non-profit Foundation Lebendige Stadt (lively city) with 150 mayors, the invited speaker Alexander Tschäppät, City President of Bern, asked that Emmanuel Mongon be also speaking with him on stage. He mentioned how Emmanuel's contribution had been instrumental for rethinking the tourism strategy and triggered a positive change in the image of the city.
"We were very happy with your intervention in Nazareth for the realization of the International Mary of Nazareth Center. Your help was quite providential at a time when we were messing around a lot and I remember that the whole project team found you to be very professional, very precise, very efficient, which clearly contributed to making the center attractive and improving visitor satisfaction.Your experience is a very important asset and I hope we can work together again soon in other projects."
Emmanuel Mongon and his team redesigned the master plan, created the visual identity, visitor's plan and signage and built some of the sets of the interactive show.
The project was entirely financed by private sponsors and donors. It was also the first time that the 12 traditional Christian Churches present in the Holy Land (5 catholic, 5 orthodox, 2 protestant) supported together a project.
Opened in 2012, it became the best noted tourism attraction in North Israel among 200 on Tripadvisor.
"All the stakeholders (FGT&C Foundation Board, State and City of Geneva) approved the new concept. The direction of the operational realization of the event was then entrusted to Mr. Mongon. The implementation deadline was very short (8 months only) and the expenditure budget was respected despite the multiple difficulties and the context (City of Nice terrorist attack). The 2016 edition of the Geneva Lake Festival was positively perceived by visitors who appreciated in particular: the general organization, distribution of the activities, parade of mobile water jets, 9 stages, 400 events, 84 live concerts, quality of the infrastructures, improvement of the safety and health aspect, success of the fireworks show."
Survey among the visitors during the Geneva Lake Festival 2016:
. 2/3 are returning: Among them, 81% say the new concept is better or much better.
. 1/3 came for the first time: Among them, 95% say the new concept is good or very good.
. What they liked the most: 1. floating parade, 2. floating tree island, 3. playa salsa dancing, 4. free boat shuttle to close the loop, 5. free fall tower.
"Based on the City's new directives (upgrading the event, reducing the duration from 25 to 10 days, no more use of the English garden, freeing the small harbor from fairground rides, reduction of impacts on gardens, etc.), Mr. Mongon developed a new concept, with its own methodology, which was approved by all stakeholders (FGT&C Foundation Board, State and City of Geneva).
The operational realization of the event was then entrusted to him. The implementation deadline was very short (only 8 months) and the expenditure budget was respected despite the many difficulties of all kinds that arose along the way. Mr. Mongon developed a detailed master plan, which has evolved many times taking into account the very complex constraints related to the site (3 km of quays in the heart of the city).
The 2016 edition of the Geneva Lake Festival was positively perceived by visitors, as noted by the Foundation Board which highlighted several new features, in particular:
. Liberation of the Geneva inner harbor and general organization of the festival with a better distribution of activities, promoting the perception of quality improvement by visitors;
. Liberation of the small harbor from fairground rides, reducing the nuisance in the heart of the event;
. Concept of pedestrian loop circling the harbor, with a shuttle boat closing the loop accessible free of charge;
. Parade of mobile water jets, a world novelty;
. General quality of infrastructure, and investment in drinking water and electricity networks;
. Presence of nine stages spread over the loop, with various styles and themes (400 events including 84 live concerts);
. Improvement of the safety and health aspect (less interventions related to alcohol);
. Improvement of the protection of plants and turf thanks to the installation of floors;
. Success of the pyrotechnic show incorporating a historic sailboat, the Neptune, and fire boats, with a new quality sound system distributed around the perimeter of the quays;
. Stands open at noon, with a significant percentage of new stands.
But unfortunately the revenues were greatly reduced due to the context:
. Terrorist attack in Nice, halting the sale of fireworks tickets, negatively impacting the ability of potential partners to sponsor the event, and imposing heavy last-minute changes in crowd safety procedures.
. Political vote planned, crystallizing an opposition between a part of the population wanting to remove the nuisance of the Geneva summer festival and another part active to keep the status quo, largely exploited by some against the FGT&C and Mr. Mongon.
The FGT&C endorsed the final deficit but could not continue to finance the event on its own. It should be mentioned here that the event is self-financed and does not benefit from any public subsidy, apart from the provision of public space and non-invoiced services in kind. We thank Emmanuel Mongon for his commitment to the implementation of the Geneva Lake Festival 2016. Our best wishes accompany him in the rest of his activities."
Yves Menoud, Chairman of the Foundation Board, and Philippe Vignon, Managing Director, Geneva Tourism & Congress Foundation
"To choose the site of the project, the debates within the General Council went beyond the usual political divisions. The site chosen is that recommended by the expert Emmanuel Mongon, specialist in leisure parks".
Terra Botanica is a case study of a project which lost its original concept along the way. In 1999, the local government voted for a location - the former airport - based on a concept and recommendations presented in a public session by Emmanuel Mongon. The concept was a horticulture theme park: an efficient marketing tool for the local horticulture industry, leading producers of flowers in France.
Because of public tender procedures, Emmanuel Mongon was not allowed to participate in the following planning phase. After several changes in the chosen design team, finally, in 2005, Emmanuel Mongon was required to join the project again and redo the master plan.
After completion of the new master plan, the project design leader decided that he could continue alone. The project finally opened to the public in 2010. But the final design and experiences were far away from the initial concept. And the park much less attractive for visitors. Over the years, the parc operator needed to reengineer the park with more entertaining experiences and slowly managed to increase attendance.
"The conservation management and cultural tourism management plan for the historic lighthouses on the east coast of Australia received the National Trust Award. The consultant team, which includes Emmanuel Mongon from Paris, receive recognition for this major step forward in the management and cultural tourism presentation of this historic and natural resource"
Collection of historic lighthouses located on the most superb scenic spots of eastern Australia, on the edge of the ocean and within National Parks (New South Wales, north and south of Sydney).
Emmanuel Mongon's work on the master plan was very well received not only by the client but also by stakeholders on the field. For example, Mark Westwood, one of guides of the Lighthouses where the project took place, wrote :
"I have just read the work you were part of for NPWS NSW Australia on the lighthouses they own.
I searched for your company on the internet and decided to e-mail you. I just wanted to let you know that your report really struck a chord with me and thought you might like some feedback from a worker in the field"