During a meet-up for Nordic tourism operators in Paris in March 2023, Giulia Ciceri from VisitDenmark shared some notable upcoming events aimed to draw in visitors, as well as the country’s objectives for 2023.
In a similar vein to neighbours Iceland and Norway, Denmark marked a return to pre-Covid levels last year when it posted a 3.2% increase in overnight stays vs 2019. This recovery was in part aided by the start of the famed Tour de France in Copenhagen.
To continue this growth in 2023, Denmark has a roster of international events and programmes lined up over the coming calendar year.
In May-June, Aarhus will become the first Danish city to host The Ocean Race. The 11-day sailing race is expected to draw in some 400,000 visitors to the coastal city in Jutland. Alongside the main event, there will be cultural events, activities promoting the preservation of marine life, and a ‘Sustainability Island’.
Elsewhere on the Jutland peninsula, an underground Cold War museum opened at the beginning of the year in Skørping. REGAN Vest is a bunker created originally to house the Danish government and monarchy in the case of a nuclear attack.
In Copenhagen, the Carlsberg Visitor Centre will reopen its doors after a period of renovation. The site is located in a Vesterbro area, which is undergoing transformation into a residential, cultural, and climate focused neighbourhood.
Finally, the capital has been named the UNESCO-UIA World Capital of Architecture for 2023. It is the occasion for the city to attract more visitors through a year-long programme celebrating its architecture, sustainable developments, and city planning solutions.
On 2nd to 6th July, the International Association of Architects Congress will be hosted in the city and is anticipated to attract some 10,000 urban planners and architects. One of the key topics of discussion during the forum will be sustainable urban solutions.
Copenhagen does not hide its goal of becoming a net zero carbon city by 2025. As such, Danish innovations in terms of sustainability will be put to the forefront of the World Capital of Architecture celebrations, as well as VisitDenmark’s plans to attract evermore visitors.
One such example is the transformation of numerous historic buildings in the capital into unique boutique hotels. Villa Copenhagen by Nordic Choice Hotels, The Audo, and The Socialist are just three showcases of this Danish approach to hospitality and upcycling.
According to Giulia Ciceri of VisitDenmark, “sustainability is prevalent everywhere in Denmark and is interwoven into the country’s approach to tourism, as well as the lifestyle of its citizens”.
The Nordic country is currently growing in popularity with visitors from Southern Europe due to recent rising temperatures, especially in the summer.
During the 2022 summer heatwave, Denmark and its temperate climate attracted many visitors from France, for example, seeking to escape the 30+°C temperatures that buffeted the country for weeks in July and August.
“The Land of Everyday Wonder”
VisitDenmark’s slogan puts what the country does best to the forefront. “Denmark does not have an Eiffel Tower or a Colosseum”, explains Ciceri, “it relies on its nature, its particularities, and its wonderful little experiences”.
These authentic Danish experiences can take the form, for example, of swimming in the harbour at Copenhagen. The capital that has sustainability on its mind boasts a seafront so clean of pollution that its residents and visitors can bathe freely in it.
Denmark’s official tourism organisation has set itself the target of extending the average duration of stay of visitors to the country. Parallel to this aim is the desire to promote lesser-visited destinations in Denmark, as well as urban districts that lie off the beaten tourist path.
The Kystlandet destination (The Coastal Land in English) and Funen boast new themed routes that allow visitors to discover the Danish coast and countryside. The themes available include the history of the Vikings, royal history, and the life of Hans Christian Andersen.
The renovation of the Carlsberg Visitor Centre in the regenerated Carlsberg City District of Vesterbro is an example of one such urban neighbourhood that will seek to tap into the tourist circuit.
With an action-packed schedule for 2023, advanced sustainability initiatives, and natural assets that will likely only draw in more and more visitors as global temperatures rise, Denmark seems to be on the path to consolidating its place as a new heavyweight of European tourism for the year ahead and the years to come.