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Denmark missing out on three million overnight stays

Denmark could have three million more overnight stays, and the tourist industry could bring in DKK 2.5 billion more in revenue if the country’s development had followed neighbouring countries. Successful Skallerup Seaside Resort is banking on higher revenue during the low season. 
Skallerup Seaside Resort in Lønstrup in northern Jutland has invested in a spa and wellness area called Romulus to attract guests outside the classic high season in summer. Photo: Skallerup Seaside Resort.

Publiceret: 03.08.2017
Af Karen Witt Olsen mail

2.5 billion kroner more is how much the tourist industry could earn if the development in Denmark had followed that of neighbouring countries.

This is the conclusion of an analysis from the Confederation of Danish Industry (DI) based on figures from Statistics Denmark as well as figures from the Netherlands and Germany.

“We ‘ought’ to have three million more overnight stays per year, had our development followed that of Sweden, Norway, Finland, Germany and the Netherlands,” says Head of Tourism at DI Sune K. Jensen.
While the number of overnight stays in neighbouring countries has increased by 38 per cent on average since 2008, it has only increased by 23 per cent at home in Denmark.

“This corresponds to the Danish tourism industry missing out on 2.5 billion kroner in revenue.  And the reason is, among other things, that other countries are better at attracting tourists outside the summer season,” he says.

See also: DI's analysis of tourism outside the high season (in Danish)

Everything is open every day

Out towards the North Sea in Lønstrup in northern Jutland lies Skallerup Seaside Resort.

Here, there are tourists staying in many of the nearly 300 holiday homes year round. January is the least busy month, but there are still tourists in 40 per cent of the houses, says CEO Niels Bro.

“We’re open 365 days a year, as are all of our activities, including a water park and playground, horse riding, candy manufacturer, farmyard and spa department. Regardless of whether guests visit in high, mid- or low season, they’ll experience the same level of activity and service. This is important if you want guests year round."

See also: Is Deutche Bank Danish?

Investments are crucial

Skallerup Seaside Resort has an annual revenue in all its business areas of approximately DKK 125 million. The commercial foundation directs its entire surplus back into itself in the form of investments.

This year, the north Jutland holiday centre has opened a new fitness area with a view over the North Sea worth DKK 7 million. In the autumn, a remodelling of the restaurant costing approx. DKK 10 million will begin.

And this is the right way to go if you want to hold on to and attract tourists outside high season, says DI’s Head of Tourism.

“In neighbouring countries, investments are typically 20-40 per cent above the level in 2000. In Denmark, we’re 30 per cent below that level. That is equivalent to one billion fewer kroner invested here at home. And that will not do, because tourists increasingly demand activities and quality of a high level,” says Sune K. Jensen.

Cooperate and think big

He points out that other important parameters are coordination and cooperation.

“It’s no use for a hotel to stay open longer if local activities and restaurants are closed. As a destination, you are mutually dependent on each other. The industry must collectively decide to extend the season,” he says.

DI’s Head of Tourism encourages players to think bigger - like in western Jutland, for example, where the 550-kilometre long North Sea coastal stretch is to become one unified coast destination that ranks among the top in Europe. 

“It is very pleasing to see that the commercial foundation Dansk Kyst- og Naturturisme, eleven municipalities, three regions and Realdania cooperate to turn Jutland’s west coast into an engine for growth for Danish tourism,” says Sune K. Jensen.

The final development plan for the west coast must be long-term and set out a common vision that is ready in 2018.

Make plans through a long-term lens

When CEO Niels Bro plans new investments for Skallerup Seaside Resort, he does so through a long-term lens. 

The fitness area worth DKK 7 million he just opened is not yet nearly as frequented as he would like.  But it will happen.

“New initiatives have a maturation period of a few years. We’ve seen that with our sauna area, which we opened two years ago. Now it’s a huge success,” he says.

Niels Bro encourages other players in the Danish tourism industry to think a few years further down the line. It costs money, but perhaps the level of ambition can be set accordingly. The main thing is to decide upon a master plan and to stick to it. Not just for one, but ideally for three to five years.

“All start-ups are tough. For us, too. It takes time to become ‘known’ for something, because it takes a few years before guests discover what is new,” he says.

It takes time to become ‘known’ for something, because it takes a few years before guests discover what is new
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PUBLISHED: 8/3/2017 LAST MODIFIED: 8/3/2017