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International business travellers are a lucrative segment for Denmark

A business tourist from abroad spends almost double as much money as a Danish leisure tourist, but the competition to attract them is tough, shows a new analysis. The conference centre MESSE C in Fredericia has taken up the fight.
Denmark has a lot of what it takes to attract more business tourists, who are desirable for example because they visit outside the tourist season.

Publiceret: 19.04.2018
Af Lotte Malene Ruby mail

The competition for tourists—and not least the deep-pocketed business travellers—is tough and increasingly getting tougher.

Given that a foreign business traveller spends DKK 2,150 per day on average, while a regular Danish tourist “only” spends around DKK 1,300 and a Danish business traveller DKK 1,750.

“Foreign business travellers are a very attractive group, quite simply because they spend a whole lot of money while they’re abroad. That is why we are working together here in the Region of Southern Denmark to attract international events. Denmark has lots to offer, including good infrastructure, a high degree of professionalism, good security, a green image and beautiful nature,” says Grete Højgaard, Managing Director of conference centre MESSE C in Fredericia.

Each year, MESSE C plays hosts to a large number of fairs, conferences and events, ranging from 100 participants to many thousands—often in collaboration with other local players. Most visitors come from Denmark, while a significantly lower, albeit increasing part come from abroad.

“We’re a small country, and there aren’t so many of us here to tell the rest of the world what we can do. That’s why we need to invest in attracting attention. The individual company cannot do it alone, so it is crucial that we collaborate across industries to spread the word about Denmark. But it is also something we need to allocate money for, because that’s what other countries are doing,” says Grete Højgaard.

See also: International tourist soon to spend DKK 50 billion in Denmark

Growth in tourism has slowed

Denmark has otherwise enjoyed substantial growth in business tourism in recent years—both among Danish business travellers and international business tourists. But since 2015, the numbers have flattened out, and neighbouring countries such as the Netherlands and Sweden have taken the lead, shows a new analysis from the Confederation of Danish Industry (DI).

“In Denmark, we have good prospects for doing well the competition for business tourists. We have a lot of what it takes—but so do our neighbouring countries, and it looks like they have won the last few rounds in the competition,” says Sune K. Jensen, Head of Tourism at DI.

Specifically, the data shows that in the past few years, the Netherlands and Sweden have taken the lead when it comes to attracting international business travellers.

“Even though the greatest portion of business travel is domestic, the international part is most certainly worth going after, both because international business travellers are good customers for Danish businesses in the tourism sector and because it is a growing market, but also because business tourists come all year round, not only during the tourist season. This allows us to utilise our capacity far better,” notes Sune K. Jensen.

Furthermore, both he and Grete Højgaard from MESSE C have observed a tendency for travellers increasingly to connect business with leisure, for example by extending their trip with a few days off as a leisure tourist.

See also: Europe attracts a record number of tourists

How to regain the lead

Although the competition is tough, Sune K. Jensen also has a few ideas for what it will take to put Denmark back in the lead in business tourism.

“First of all, we must continue improving our infrastructure—not least our airports. It is to no small degree accessibility that makes the Capital Region and Southern Denmark particularly good at drawing in business tourists,” he emphasises.

The country must therefore continuously work on making it easier for businesses and organisations to choose Denmark as the location for their next fair or conference.

“In addition, we must take advantage of our strengths in order to make Denmark an attractive choice. This could be by connecting business to gastronomic experiences, for example—and by developing new, creative forms of meetings. We can also take advantage of our strengths in areas such as sustainability, technology and pharmaceuticals to attract more fairs and conferences in an interplay between the knowledge industries and tourist sector,” suggests Sune K. Jensen.

Today, business tourism accounts for an annual revenue of DKK 27 billion. This corresponds to one quarter of the total revenue in the tourism industry overall.

FACTS
Danish tourists  DKK 1,300
Danish business travellers  DKK 1,750
Foreign tourists  DKK 1,800
Foreign business travellers  DKK 2,150
Source: VisitDenmark

Foreign business travellers are a very attractive group, quite simply because they spend a whole lot of money while they’re abroad.
GRETE HØJGAARD, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF CONFERENCE CENTRE MESSE C IN FREDERICIA
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PUBLISHED: 4/19/2018 LAST MODIFIED: 4/19/2018