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Copenhagen Takes Different Stance On Overtourism By Rewarding Tourist Behavior

Copenhagen takes a different stance on overtourism
Copenhagen takes a different stance on overtourism [Image by Pixabay]
Copenhagen in Denmark is a hugely popular city for travelers and is feeling the effects of overtourism, much like other European locations. However, while Barcelona plans to ban vacation rentals, Mallorca restricts the sale of alcohol, and Venice charges its day trippers, Copenhagen takes a more positive stance. The city is offering rewards for good tourist behavior if visitors participate in climate-friendly and green initiatives.

Copenhagen to reward tourists for climate-friendly behavior

Rather than trying to halt overtourism by placing bans, or charging entry fees, Copenhagen is taking a much different stance on overtourism. As travelers arrive in the city for their summer vacations, they can receive special rewards while crowding out the Danish city. Rather than charging fees and imposing restrictions, the city wants to reward its visitors.

Park in Copenhagen, Denmark
Park in Copenhagen [Image by Pixabay]
According to the New York Times, starting on July 15, Denmark’s capital will offer free museum tours, art workshops and other rewards for those well-behaved visitors who partake in climate-friendly and green initiatives.

Meanwhile, the initiatives are offered for those cycling in the city, using trains to get around, and those who participate in clean-up efforts in the city. For their efforts, these visitors will earn free kayak rentals, free access to museum tours, free meals and more.

Bikes in Denmark's capital
Bikes in Denmark’s capital [Image by Eric Morasse from Pixabay]
Mikkel Aarø-Hansen is the Chief Executive of Wonderful Copenhagen, a tourism organization for the Capital Region of Denmark. He explained, “We must turn tourism from being an environmental burden into a force for positive change.”

He added that an important step in the transformation “is to change how we move around on the destination, what we consume, and how we interact with the locals.”

According to a 2023 sustainable report by the London-based market research group, Kanter, roughly 81 percent of consumers say they want to act more sustainably. Meanwhile, only 22 percent have made a change in their behavior. Copenhagen’s new initiative, CopenPay hopes to bridge the gap between those desiring to act sustainably and those taking actual climate-friendly action.

About the rewards

CopenHill Urban Mountain
[Image by CopenHill Urban Mountain on Facebook]
Among the awards, those who volunteer in cleanup efforts will be rewarded, while the National Gallery of Denmark holds workshops to turn plastic waste into works of art. Meanwhile, those who head up Copenhill by bike or train will be able to go down the artificial ski slope, built on top of a new waste-water management center, for free.

Moreover, those surfers who participate in 30 minutes of beach cleaning after their surf course at Copenhagen Surf School, will enjoy a free lunch. Meanwhile, more than 20 attractions in Copenhagen will participate in the pilot program this summer.

Copenhagen Surf School
[Image Copenhagen Surf School on Facebook]
While speaking of CopenPay, Aarø-Hansen said:

Our vision with CopenPay is to create a ripple effect. We hope that by showcasing the success of this and other initiatives, other cities around the globe will be inspired to find their way to incentivize more sustainable tourism behavior, ultimately leading to a more sustainable future for everyone.

Here’s hoping Copenhagen’s new initiative will grow, inspiring other countries to do something similar, rather than holding banners reading: “Tourists Go Home.”


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