When fantasising about a holiday on the beach, Denmark may not be the first destination that comes to mind. After all, this is a country that is better known internationally for the dark, gritty TV thriller The Killing than it is for its coasts.
But the Danish government wants to change that. As part of a wide-reaching agreement reached today aimed at boosting the national tourism industry, a special focus was put on developing tourism along the country’s over 7,000 kilometres of combined coastline.
Under the plan, coastal communities will be allowed to build upon environmentally-protected stretches of the coast.
“We know from Swedish and Norwegian projects that it is possible to develop coastal areas without compromising nature. Now we will try it in Denmark,” the environment minister, Kirsten Brosbøl, said. “We are therefore inviting those communities where there is great potential [to attract tourists] to come up with a plan. The projects need to be thorough, ambitious and tailored to the nature, because that, when all is said and done, is what many tourists come to experience.”
According to figures from the tourism plan, the number of overnight stays in the nation’s coastal and nature areas has fallen by 27.5 percent over the past decade.
The development of tourism along the coasts and in nature areas is therefore receiving 20 million of the combined 45.5 million kroner being set aside for the government’s tourism growth package.
The tourism plan lays out 14 different initiatives, among them a change in telecommunications laws that will allow cities to provide free wifi, a digital holiday booking service branded ‘Denmark Direct’, and the preliminary examination of a Hans Christian Andersen visitor’s centre near the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen. Combined with the coming H.C. Andersen House of Fairytales in Odense, tourism officials are hoping to capitalise on the enduring popularity of Denmark’s most famous son, particularly among Chinese tourists.
“We are taking steps to ensure that Danish tourism in the future is quality tourism,” the business minister, Henrik Sass Larsen, said.
With the exception of Liberal Alliance, all political parties in parliament signed on to the deal.