Conchita Wurst's victory could end up costing Denmark's tourism industry. Photo: Erlend Aas/Scanpix
The chairman of the board of tourist organisation Wonderful Copenhagen has resigned as a result of the massive overspending on May’s Eurovision contest.
Michael Metz-Mørch’s resignation was welcomed by the chairwoman of the Capital Region (Region Hovedstaden), Sophie Hæstrop Andersen.
“With the Eurovision Song Contest, Wonderful Copenhagen has put itself in the difficult situation where there needs to be major changes in the organisation. There needs to be a calm so that we can restore confidence in Wonderful Copenhagen’s ability to carry out the important task of promoting tourism,” she told Danmarks Radio.
Earlier this month, final budget figures revealed that Projektselskabet, a temporary company created by Wonderful Copenhagen to put on the Eurovision bonanza, overshot its budget by some 76 million kroner ($13.6 million).
Fabian Holt, an associate producer at Roskilde University who has done extensive research in live events and venues, told The Local earlier this month that he expected a “bloodbath” as individual responsibility would start to be placed on the “disastrous management” involved in staging the Eurovision contest.
May’s event in the repurposed B&W Hallerne ended up with a total deficit of 58 million kroner ($10.4 million), which will now have to be covered by Copenhagen Council, Region Hovedstaden, Wonderful Copenhagen and Refshaleøens Ejendomsselskab A/S.
At a Region Hovedstaden meeting last week, Hæstrop Andersen proposed giving Wonderful Copenhagen a cash injection to cover the costs that would then be countered by a corresponding reduction in basic support to the tourist organisation in the coming years.
But those in the tourism industry have warned against the move, saying it would lead to a tourism decline that could hurt numerous Copenhagen businesses and the 48,000 workers employed in the city’s tourism industry.
Katia Østergaard, the head of Horests, the national trade association for the hotel, restaurant and tourism industry, advised against a cut in future tourism support.
“The tourism industry is a core business area for the capital. Not just for the people who work directly in the industry in hotels, restaurants and attractions, but also for the people who work in the retail and transport industries, among others,” Østergaard told Danmarks Radio.
“Denmark is a very small destination out in the big wide world and therefore it requires that we are in a position to put Denmark and our capital on the world map,” she added.
A one-time payment from Region Hovedstaden would allow Wonderful Copenhagen to pay off its debt to Danmarks Radio,which loaned Projektselskabet 43 million kroner during preparations for Eurovision. Danmarks Radio has repeatedly rejected any notion that it bares responsibility for Eurovision running so massively over its budget.