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Small Danish islands welcome proposal for cheaper ferries

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Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
Small Danish islands welcome proposal for cheaper ferries
The harbour at Danish island Anholt. Ferries to small Danish islands could get additional government subsidies, reducing the cost of tickets. Photo: Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix

A government proposal to make ferry travel cheaper in remote parts of Denmark has been met with praise by island communities.

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The draft 2024 budget is set this week to propose new subsidies to small islands and outlying areas to make ferry tickets cheaper.

The decision has been welcomed by local communities who say it will boost visitor numbers as well as the number of residents in Denmark’s islands.

“It means that access to our islands we get easier”, said the chairman of the association Sammenslutning af Danske Småøer (“Association Danish Small Islands”), Kirsten Sydendal, said. The organisation represents 27 small islands around the Danish coastline.

“High fares keep people away, low fares get people to come.

“So we think this could bring more tourists and make more people want to live on the islands,” she said.

READ ALSO: Five small islands in Denmark you must visit this summer

The government plans to spend an additional 51 million kroner subsidising ferry tickets each year over the next four years.

Existing subsidies already provide for reduced fares on 33 ferry routes in 21 municipalities in the 46 weeks of the year outside of peak tourism season.

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But draft budget will to implement a so-called “full B-road principle” (fuldt landevejsprincip), meaning all ferries in Denmark can be equally subsidised year-round, and making the cost of using a ferry equivalent to going by road.

That will benefit residents on the island, according to Sydendahl.

“I have a season ticket which costs me 6,000-7,000 kroner per year. I’m lucky because I travel many times a week and I can deduct it from my taxes,” she said.

“But there are others who don’t go back and forth so often, for example pensioners who have to go to the dentist or have another errand on the mainland,” she said.

Another organisation, Landdistrikternes Fællesråd, which supports rural districts, also expressed enthusiasm for the proposed subsidies.

“The ferries are the lifeline for small islands and the only we to get to them. A stable and economically viable ferry connection is important to get people to go to the islands as guests and tourists – and maybe later move to the islands to live,” chairperson Steffen Damsgaard said in a press statement.

The budget is expected to be presented in full later this week.

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