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Can Americans travel to Denmark for tourism this summer?

Denmark has long been a top travel destination for Americans, and US tourists who are vaccinated can from this weekend return to see the Little Mermaid.

Can Americans travel to Denmark for tourism this summer?
Tourists on a Copenhagen sightseeing bus. Photo: Morten Jerichau/VisitCopenhagen

In 2019, US tourists spent 835,800 nights in Denmark’s hotels, and 755,000 in Copenhagen, more than those of any other country.

“Before Covid, the US was actually the biggest international market for Copenhagen,” Katinka Friis, Visit Denmark’s press officer in the US, told The Local. “So of course tourism in our biggest cities has been hit pretty hard.” 

In a press release issued on Friday, Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that residents of OECD countries who have been fully vaccinated with a vaccine recognised by the European Medicines Agency, will be treated the same as vaccinated people from EU and Schengen countries. 

This means that US citizens vaccinated with jabs from Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson no longer need a so-called “worthy purpose” to travel to Denmark, do not need to show a negative coronavirus test before boarding their aircraft, or get tested and go into self-isolation on arrival.

The vaccine is treated as valid by Denmark from 14 days after the final dose has been given. 

When will Denmark open up for non-vaccinated tourists from the US? 

A Ministry of Justice text published last month suggests that on June 26th, Denmark will adopt the EU’s common rules on entry for persons from outside the bloc, meaning non-EU countries such as the US should qualify if infection levels are low enough to qualify as “orange” or “yellow”. 

“The most recent thing that we’ve seen in the documents is that the 26th of June should mark the next step of reopening, so that’s the date we’re hoping for,” Friis said. “We’re also waiting for the EU to give their seal of approval to a list of countries outside the EU.” 

She said that the importance of the US as a tourism market, and the high rate of vaccination in the country, meant it was likely that the US will be on the list. 

What restrictions will be in place for tourists from the US when Denmark opens up? 

According to Friis, tourists from the US will be treated in a similar way to those from the six non-EU countries already allowed to travel to Denmark.

“The market has already opened up to some countries outside the EU, and I think it will be a similar situation for those coming from the US. If you’re vaccinated, it will be pretty straightforward.”

If the US is treated the same as other counties, then if the country is rated “orange”, tourists will need a negative test result, proof of completed vaccination, or proof of a previous coronavirus infection within the last six months to board the plane. 

Those travelling on a negative test result will also need to pass a test on arrival in Copenhagen, and then to self-isolate for at least four days until they test negative for coronavirus, or ten days without a test.

Those who are vaccinated or immune after a previous infection will not need to take a test on arrival or self-isolate. 

If the US is rated “yellow”, however, tourists who are not vaccinated or judged immune will only need to take a test on arrival in Denmark and will not need to self-isolate. 

Will Denmark open up too late for US tourists? 

According to Friis, there is significant pent-up demand from US tourists wanting to come to Denmark, meaning the first tourists are likely to arrive shortly after the market opens. 

“Every single day I get those emails — when can I travel to Denmark? Can I come now?” Friis said. “And we’re really happy about that because it means people are excited about the reopening, and we have so many new museums and hotels opening in Denmark around this time, so it’s a good starting point for rebooting American tourist travel”

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ENVIRONMENT

Copenhagen to miss 2025 zero emissions target

Copenhagen will not reach its longstanding target of becoming CO2 emissions neutral by 2025.

Cyclists on Copenhagen's
Cyclists on Copenhagen's "Lille Langebro" bridge. The Danish capital has admitted to errors in emissions calculations and says it won't be climate neutral in 2025, a long-standing target. Photo by Febiyan on Unsplash

A city councillor told newspaper Jyllands-Posten that the city, which has long stated its aim of becoming the world’s first CO2-neutral capital, would not meet that target as scheduled.

“I won’t need to stand there in 2025 and say ‘hurrah, we’re CO2 neutral’, because I know that CO2 will still be emitted (then),” elected representative Ninna Hedeager Olsen of the Copenhagen Municipality environment section told Jyllands-Posten.

Tourist board Visit Denmark has previously used the emissions goal to market the city, while Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen named the target during the C40 climate summit when it was hosted by Copenhagen in 2019.

But the municipality has included wind energy produced in other municipalities in its calculations on energy sustainability, according to the newspaper report.

This means it effectively still emits CO2 overall.

The company which supplies energy to the city, Hofor, has erected windmills in a number of municipalities outside of Copenhagen. But the electricity produced by these windmills has been used in calculations of CO2 emissions in both Copenhagen and in the municipalities in which the windmills are actually located.

The replication of the energy production in data for different locations can “rightly” be said to be “cheating the scales”, according to Hedeager Olsen.

But that is not the only problem in calculations of the city’s emissions, she also admitted.

“There are loads of things that haven’t been counted,” she said.

The goal to become climate neutral by 2025 was first set by the city in 2012 in a climate plan adopted by the city government.

Copenhagen was the following year awarded the Cities Climate Leadership award for the plan.

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