Fewer foreign tourists visit Denmark

Overnight stays in the hotels of Copenhagen declined considerably last year compared with figures from 2006, according to a report by the Copenhagen Post.

4 per cent fewer people stayed overnight in the city compared to 2006, a drop of almost 100,000 people.

Although some people blame it on the weather this year which was less than ideal for tourists, experts in the industry think the problem may lie somewhat deeper. Despite a similarly wet summer and a cold and rainy autumn, other capitals in Europe saw their hotel overnight figures rise in 2007.

An analysis of statistics indicates that the nationalities seen less frequently in 2007 include the Chinese, Americans and Europeans. The change in tourism from China is the most dramatic, with 95 per cent less Chinese visiting Copenhagen in 2007 compared to 2006. The number of American and European tourists decreased by a moderate 7 per cent.

In response to the decline, Denmark has pledged DKK 54 million into a promotion campaign for the country over the next four years. Although the money will be spent trying to convince the world that Copenhagen is a world-class tourist destination, many experts feel that wrong image of Denmark is being projected.

Janne Liburd, head of the University of Southern Denmark’s Centre for Tourism, Innovation and Culture, said that Denmark would benefit from appointing a Minister of Tourism to work on the matter full time.

“We’re extremely good at painting this idyllic picture of how nice and pretty Denmark is almost to the point where tourists expect to see H C Andersen or a little family of ducks waddling across their paths,” said Liburd. “But the reality is much more complex than what’s being pitched abroad.”

The disappointing figures for foreign tourism in 2007 are balanced with an increase in domestic travel. More Danes vacationed within Denmark in 2007 than in 2006, which helped prop up revenue for hotel and restaurants in the country.