Danish tourist industry calls for urgent decision on German border

Danish tourist industry calls for urgent decision on German border
Cyclists leaving a summer house. Photo: Østdansk Turisme
Summer house owners in Denmark are calling for the government to open borders by the end of May so that Germans can come and celebrate the long Pentecost weekend at Danish holiday cottages.

“We can't wait another day to get this message from the government,” Carlos Villaro Lassen, the chairman of the Danish Association of Summer House Landlords, told The Local. “The Prime Minister must listen, change the border decision and get the borders open.” 

Lassen said that his members had already lost three million rental nights between March and the end of May, with the total loss to Denmark's economy already well over 3bn kroner (€400m) when money spent by holidaying German and Norwegians was added in. 
 
“And you know with tourism what you've lost is lost,” he went on. “You can't put it in a warehouse and sell it another time, and that's why we are very keen to get the borders open as soon as possible.” 
 
Lassen said that his members currently had 150,000 bookings outstanding for this summer, which had been made before the coronavirus crisis hit. 
 
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They were now at risk of cancellation if Denmark's government did not soon act quickly to reassure tourists that borders would be open in June, July and August, he said. 
 
“We would potentially lose those, and of course there have been no new bookings,” he said. “Normally in March and April, there's are a lot of new bookings for the summer from Germany, but that's been totally absent.” 
 
 
Lassen said that rather than fully reopen the border, Denmark could instead classify holding a booking at a hotel, campsite or holiday house as a “worthy purpose” for entering the country. 
 
“Maybe it will not be in the first place be a full border opening, he said. “People who have a booking might be able to show the booking at the border.” 
 
Germany's interior minister, Horst Seehofer, this week said that Germany would be willing to open its border with Denmark completely as early as May 15. 
 
There is also a clear majority in the Danish parliament in favour of reopening the border for tourists, with even the populist Danish People's Party and the far-left Red Green Alliance in favour. 
 
“People can't understand why a resident of Copenhagen, a big city with a much higher level of infection, can freely go and book a summer house in western Jutland, when someone from northern Germany, where the infection rate is much lower, cannot do it,” Lassen complained. 

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