Publiceret: 15.02.2018Af Lotte Malene Ruby mail
“It’s going well,” says Per Dam, CEO of Fårup Summerland.
The company is in the midst of a development that has given the CEO reason to be optimistic about future opportunities, despite the very wet summer that all Danish amusement parks suffered from in 2017.
“We are seeing a general increase in the number of visitors from both Denmark and abroad. In 2016, we opened a hotel in the park that makes it possible for our guests to stay for several days. The hotel also allows us to host a number of off-season activities such as conferences and employee events. We have already had success with this,” explains Per Dam.
Fårup Summerland is thereby helping to increase tourism in northern Jutland - an area that has otherwise had some of the lowest growth levels in the country. And tourism is indeed a growing industry in Denmark.
In 2017, the number of foreign overnight stays increased by 2.1 per cent. However, growth is higher in neighbouring countries, and it could be in Denmark, too. Had Denmark followed the development seen in neighbouring countries, the export value earned would have been over DKK 3 billion. Nevertheless, according to Statistics Denmark, the tourism industry brought in revenue of DKK 48.9 billion from international tourists in 2017.
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“The basic problem is that our neighbouring countries are experiencing higher growth than we are. There are several reasons for this. First of all, the price level in Denmark is very high. That can be difficult to change in the short run. But at the same time, we are also experiencing capacity problems during the high season,” says Sune K. Jensen, Head of Tourism at the Confederation of Danish Industry.
Tourism is of major significance for the Danish economy. In 2015, the total revenue was DKK 97.5 billion - and the goal in the national tourism strategy from 2016 is to reach a total revenue of DKK 140 billion in 2025. A multi-stranded initiative is therefore required.
“There is a need to extend the tourist season, so that all the money does not have to be earned within a few months. We also need to spread out tourists more widely across the country, so we make use of our capacity. But in order to do that, we need to create strong stories about what you can experience as a tourist in Denmark,” explains Sune K. Jensen.
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The Netherlands has been highly successful in marketing the entire country as one total experience.
“The tourism sector in the Netherlands highlights that all experiences in the country are located within a manageable distance from one another, and they have created travel routes that cater to specific interests. For example, they have created a Van Gogh route that takes tourists to a number of places around the country pertaining to the painter’s life and work. This is something we can get better at in Denmark,” says Sune K. Jensen.
Per Dam from Fårup Summerland agrees and is already working on it - among other things, through the “Alletiders Nordjylland” collaboration together with Aalborg Zoo and the North Sea Oceanarium, which aims to create synergy between the different players.
“There is a maximum of one hour travel time between the various experiences in Northern Jutland, and we need to be much better at taking advantage of that. We need to highlight the diverse range of experiences we have to offer guests in our part of the country. That will enable us to attract more visitors - and to make them want to come back again to see more,” says Per Dam.
The tourism industry can do a great deal of the work to increase growth on its own. But the rest of society can help back the industry up - and reap the benefits once the mission succeeds, says Per Dam.
“The tourism industry has not always been seen as a serious industry capable of creating permanent jobs. But we can - also in associated industries. This could be carpenters, for example, who help build and maintain holiday homes, or grocery stores that increase their revenue thanks to tourists. We need to work together much more at all levels if we are to continue developing and create higher growth,” says Per Dam.
A 2017 study from VisitDenmark showed that tourism creates the basis for 118,000 full-time jobs in Denmark. That corresponds to 4.2 per cent of the country’s total employment. Tourism is most significant in the smaller municipalities, which typically have fewer sources of employment than bigger municipalities.
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The tourism industry has not always been seen as a serious industry capable of creating permanent jobs. But we can - also in associated industries.