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Travel industry news

11 Sep 2015

Scandinavia's new Capital of Cool

Gastronomy, design and Nordic Noir - Chloe Cann finds out how Copenhagen is wooing Brits by chatting to the UK’s director of Visit Denmark 

Torvehallerne Copenhagen Market

If you’re not selling Copenhagen then you could be missing a trick. The UK now constitutes the biggest source market for the Danish capital, surpassing even the traditional markets of Norway, Germany and Sweden, explained Dennis Englund, director of Visit Denmark in the UK.


Talking to the recently appointed director last week, he said that British overnight stays in Denmark have rocketed over the past five years, reaching almost 720,000. That’s an increase of 50%.


Englund gave thanks to the likes of Nordic Noir series, such as The Killing and The Bridge, which have gripped UK viewers and drawn their attention to the design-conscious country.


“We often find that British tourists know Denmark, but only fragmented things like Danish bacon and The Little Mermaid. Not things that tie in to tourism.” But it looks like perceptions are rapidly changing. “We’re getting a lot of coverage in national media, as well as lifestyle and travel magazines,” he said. “We’ve definitely seen an increase in awareness of Copenhagen as a city break destination.”


The two main attractions fuelling this fire are gastronomy and active outdoor pursuits, said Englund. “There’s a trend now for authenticity, to know where ingredients come from, and that’s something we are very good at. Noma, which was number one restaurant in the world for several years, was the one to start it. We’re getting more Michelin stars outside of Copenhagen too.”


Aside from the foodie draws, visitors can also swim in Copenhagen’s harbour and cycle everywhere. “Cycling has exploded in the UK after the Tour de France and the Olympics, and Denmark is just the perfect country for cycling. It’s such a big part of our culture.”


The tourism office has deliberately singled out Copenhagen as its primary destination for British travellers. “We’re not trying to become the main summer holiday [for Brits]. That’s too hard. We’re the third or fourth holiday and the city break is our priority.” Englund added: “Copenhagen is the city that most Brits know and it’s also where most flights go – there are 296 direct flights from the UK a week.”


While Denmark will never be a bargain hunter’s Mecca (“The expense is a perception that’s reality,” said Englund), it might not be as expensive as your clients think. “The pound is strong, which is good for us and we’ve developed some hotel products that are still high quality but at affordable prices. Copenhagen is no more expensive than London.”

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