Danes defy increased living costs for holidays in warmer climes

Higher living costs have not prevented Danish holidaymakers from seeking faraway, warm destinations this winter, but summer 2023 could see more budget-conscious travel.

Danes defy increased living costs for holidays in warmer climes
Danish travel agencies have reported sold-out deals to premium destinations like Mauritius this winter. Photo by Ondrej Bocek on Unsplash

The cost of living crisis has so far had little impact on Danes’ enthusiasm for long distance travel to warm and exotic holiday destinations, broadcaster DR writes.

The first winter season in three years without major Covid-19 travel restrictions has seen packages to countries such as Mauritius and Thailand sold out, travel agencies Bravo Tours and Spies said.

Denmark’s biggest travel agency, TUI, said it had seen a huge spike in sales of trips to the Maldives, Mauritius, Zanzibar and Dubai.

“These are luxurious products we are offering. A trip to the Maldives might have an average price of 36,000 kroner. The trend is certainly that we still want to travel,” the company’s acting head of media communications Kike Wiese told DR.

Copenhagen Airport said it expected 8.5 million passengers during the winter season – a figure that falls a little short of the 10 million which was normal in pre-Covid years.

This is likely to be due to airlines still working to catch up from the hit they took during the coronavirus crisis, and not a lack of demand, according to DR’s report.

“We expect 2023 to be the year in which we are very busy at the airport all year round, whereas previous years have started somewhat quietly,” Copenhagen Airport commercial director Peter Korsgaard told DR.

Bravo Tours said it was at the same level as pre-pandemic business activity and its main obstacle was a shortage of flights.

“We have problems with there not being enough flights at the moment. Especially to Thailand, a lot of flights are sold out because airlines have simply not got up and running again. They still need pilots and stewardesses after corona,” CEO of Bravo Tours Peder Hornshøj told DR.

Although travel habits do not currently appear to be impacted by higher living costs, that could change in coming seasons, Hornshøj predicted.

“On top of the pandemic, a lot of people have given it a bit extra economically, for example with things like better hotels or facilities. But I also think we are going to see many people wanting to go on holiday but also save a bit, so the cheaper destinations will probably be popular in the summer,” he said.

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New rail service planned through Norway, Sweden and Denmark to Hamburg

Plans for a new rail service running from Oslo and stopping in Gothenburg, Malmö and Copenhagen before arriving in Hamburg are in the works, Swedish state-owned rail operator SJ has said.

New rail service planned through Norway, Sweden and Denmark to Hamburg

Sweden’s state-owned SJ, along with Denmark’s DSB and DB of Germany, plans to offer a new international train line which runs between the Norwegian capital Oslo and Hamburg in northern Germany. 

The planned route would run daily, departing from Oslo at 8am before making stops in Gothenburg, Malmö and Copenhagen and arriving in Hamburg at 7pm. A service departing Hamburg and terminating in Gothenburg is also planned.

The 11 hour service would be quicker than the equivalent journey using either a car and ferry connection or existing train services. 

The planned service will enter into operation in 2027. Petter Essén, head of SJ’s vehicle and traffic programme, said the route made sense as it would connect a long stretch which doesn’t have continuous train traffic. 

“Today, there is a great deal of flying between Copenhagen and Oslo and between Oslo and Gothenburg, routes that would be fine by train,” Essén told Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter

Currently, the only direct trains from the Norwegian capital to other countries are services to Gothenburg and Stockholm. 

The European Commission has selected the potential line as one of ten pilot projects that will receive support. This does not mean it will receive direct funding from the EU, but it will get backing on regulations and logistics, Essén explained.

“You can get help with various regulations and the process of getting all vehicles approved in all countries,” he said.

Generally, many Swedish and Norwegian trains can only operate within Sweden and Norway, while the majority of Danish and German trains are not cleared to run in Sweden in Norway. 

The Snälltåget line between Stockholm and Berlin has also been selected to receive support from the European Commission. 

SJ also announced plans to increase the number of trains between Gothenburg and Malmö to ten per day and offer the Gothenburg-Copenhagen service all year round. It said that these plans could come to fruition by 2026 or 2027.