Denmark’s ability to attract tourists has fallen drastically over the past year, according to a new report from the World Economic Forum. The report, which gauges travel and tourism competitiveness around the world, ranked Denmark number 21 globally, five spots lower than in 2011.
‘The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013’ evaluated 140 economies worldwide based on how their policies make it attractive to develop the travel and tourism sector.
On a scale from one to seven, with seven being the best, Denmark received a score of 4.98, dropping it from 16 to 21 in the rankings and putting it well behind its Scandinavian neighbours Sweden, Iceland and Finland. Denmark did, however, edge out Norway, which came in at number 22.
”It’s simply not good that Denmark has fallen on that list. It means that we lose out on essential income and work places,” Lise Lyck from the Center for Tourism and Culture at Copenhagen Business School told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. “And at the same time we find it more difficult to utilise the massive potential that a globally-growing tourism industry offers.”
The report revealed that Denmark has its strengths and weakness when it comes to attracting tourists. One of the major hindrances is the price levels that tourists encounter. Denmark is the fifth-most expensive country in the study, with only Australia, Norway, Switzerland and Zimbabwe ranked as pricier.
“The report documents that we rank very low when it comes to prices, which is an important factor for tourists. The permanent challenge in Denmark is that it is expensive to be a tourist here and we won’t get around not coming to terms with our high taxes and fees,” Christian Ingemann, the CEO of labour advocates Dansk Erhverv, told Jyllands-Posten.
But price isn’t everything. Switzerland is even more expensive than Denmark, but is ranked the number one overall on the list. But Switzerland has been able to develop its tourism in a way that Danes have not, including its treatment of tourists. Denmark ranks a paltry number 117 when it comes to the locals’ treatment of visitors.
“Regrettably, we are not as friendly towards our tourists as we think. Our attitude to them is usually measured and that is a problem that is difficult to correct in a short space of time, because it demands a behavioural change,” Lyck told Jyllands-Posten.
The reports's positive aspects for Denmark included solid placements within environment and sustainability, as well as a functional infrastructure, solid human resources and a trustworthy police force.
Tourism in Denmark accounts for total revenue of 74.6 billion kroner and creates 109,000 full-time jobs directly and indirectly. Some 31 percent of tourism funds come from hotels and ten percent comes from rented vacation homes.
Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Spain and the United Kingdom made up the ‘The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013’ top five, while the US was ranked 6, Canada was 8, Australia was 11 and Ireland was 19, to mention a few. Bringing up the rear in the 140-nation rankings were Haiti, Chad and Burundi, which all scored well below 3.00.