Tourism: Sweden up, Iceland booms, Denmark sluggish

Incoming tourism varied considerably in Nordics in 2004-2014
Tourism to Denmark has suffered stagnation over the last 10 years, some way behind its Nordic neighbours. Hit largely by a decline in the number of German tourists, the last decade have brought only 4% more tourists – the fifth worst performance among 48 Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) countries, as published by the magazine Momentum.
By contrast, Iceland welcomed 63% more tourists over the 2004-2014 period, while Finland and Sweden both saw 20% more overnight stays and Norway saw 9% growth.
The average growth among the countries surveyed was 25%. The biggest rises in tourism were seen in Armenia (97%), Georgia (92%) and Albania (86%). Only Kyrgyzstan, Slovakia, Luxembourg and Cyprus performed worse than Denmark.
However, Danish tourism has been recovering in recent years, following falls every year between 2004 and 2009. Since then, overnight stays have rebounded to 23.3 million in 2014.
Lars Erik Jønsson, assistant chief executive of Visit Denmark, told Momentum that the country must get better at offering exciting attractions.
“The key to success is ensuring that international guests are aware that you have something attractive and interesting to offer,” he said. “Peace and quiet in itself, which was enough in the 1990s, became challenged in the 2000s, when there needed to be more obvious and accessible activities to attract families.”
Susanne Nordenbæk, head of tourism at the Danish Chamber of Commerce, agreed.
“It has become cheaper to travel to far-off destinations and that is a new competitive parameter for Denmark. One also needs to realize that people’s travel behaviour has changed. Whereas one might have previously gone to one destination for three weeks, today people travel more frequently but for shorter periods. That can mean that we haven’t dropped in the total number of German tourists, but in the number of overnight stays.”
Wonderful Copenhagen marketing director Birgitte Arendsdorf Olsen told The Local: “Things have not slowed down for Copenhagen. City break tourism is a growing business and is driving growth in tourism in Denmark.”
The Local
[photo courtesy Visit Denmark]