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Photo: Wonderful Copenhagen

Copenhagen locals warn about overtourism

The local community environment is starting to erode, residents say, and tourism specialists are starting to agree.

A day after the well-known travel publisher Lonely Planet chose Copenhagen as its top city in the world to visit in 2019, concerns are being expressed about overtourism in the city.

The Danish capital has seen a 74% surge in tourists over the past decade, which is great news for Wonderful Copenhagen, Visit Denmark, hotels and the many companies catering for visitors.

US broadcaster CNN also listed Copenhagen as one of the most liveable cities in the world in August and has named it as the best city for swimming, both of which will encourage even more visitors.

But the trend is also persuading an increasing number of locals to view tourism as a disadvantage rather than an asset.

“Copenhagen has become more fixated on catering to tourists than those who live here,” Hannibal Holt, a member of the citizens association Foreningen Københavns Beboernetværk (FKBN), protested to TV 2 News.

“People are moving, and that local community environment that once existed has begun to evaporate. We don’t really know one another anymore.”

The association was founded in 2016 to fight noise pollution created by the city’s nightlife and to question whether the increasing number of events being held across the city is sustainable.

Breaking point
Holt recommends regulating incoming tourism, as has been deployed in cities like Barcelona and Venice where the sheer numbers of tourists have prompted protests by residents in recent years.

Tourism specialist Carina Ren from Aalborg University sympathises with such views. She questions whether pleasant city life for residents can be maintained if ever-more tourists are pouring into Copenhagen.

“When will there be so many Chinese tourists on the cycle paths that you can’t move around on your bike? We aren’t there yet, but perhaps it’s not that far off the horizon,” she told TV2 News.

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