Free ferry scheme swamps Danish islands with extra tourists

Free ferry scheme swamps Danish islands with extra tourists
The Fanø ferry pictured in 2015. Photo: Claus Fisker/Ritzau Scanpix
People who live on islands around Denmark say they now have more visitors than they need after domestic tourism increased.

Islanders on Fanø, which is close to west coast city Esbjerg, say they are tired of the spike in tourism this year, a result of the increase in Danes holidaying domestically as the coronavirus crisis curbs international travel.

“We are getting too many now. You get stressed by it and the people who make their livelihoods from many (tourists) coming are unable to manage it,” Fanø resident Søren Vinding told DR.

The broadcaster reports that social media platforms used by people who live on Fanø reflect that sentiment, with the tourism situation described as “crazy”.

July 1st -21st saw a 22.5 percent increase in the number of people taking the Esbjerg-Fanø ferry compared to the same period last year, DR found based on data from ferry operator Molslinjen.

That works out at almost 1,000 more people per day coming to Fanø compared to last year.

The increase can be credited in part to a government scheme making 53 ferry journeys free in July as part of a wider package to promote domestic tourism.


Although the scheme has proved widely popular, island residents have expressed frustration with crowding and issues such as queuing at ferry terminals.

“I don’t think this is a luxury problem,” Jørgen Christiansen, a café owner on the Limfjorden island of Fur, said to DR.

“If you disappoint too many people, things get negative, firstly from queuing at the ferry and then not being able to get a seat when you want to eat. So I’m concerned about that and think it should be spread out across the season,” Christiansen said.

The Ministry of Transport and Housing’s summer scheme is a 700 million-kroner injection aimed at boosting the economy following the coronavirus crisis.

One of the measures is cheaper ferries, including free domestic ferries in July for pedestrians and cyclists.

Subsidies are also provided for price reductions on ferries to smaller islands, as well as Fanø, Læsø, Ærø and Samsø, in August and September.

Ticket prices on the Ystad-Rønne ferry service will also be reduced in August and September.

READ ALSO: Which countries are people from Denmark travelling to post-corona shutdown?

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