Heralded for its happiness even on gloomy days (we’re talking five hours of sunlight during the winter solstice), Denmark was put to the ultimate personality test throughout the COV1D-19 pandemic.
But with the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ June 5 announcement of reopening to fully vaccinated Americans, a metaphorical and literal light emerged at the end of the tunnel, aligning with the celebrated summer solstice.
While Denmark’s economy may not rely on tourism as heavily as other European countries –tourism accounted for 1.7% of the Danish economy in 2019, compared to 6.8% in Greece, for example — the 15 months without travelers still yielded a significant impact. After a somewhat “normal” summer and autumn in 2020, discovering the more transmissible Alpha strand of COVID-19 in Denmark propelled a strict half-year lockdown, with hotels and restaurants bearing much of the burden.
As Denmark’s normalcy returns, how will it see its tourism industry flourish?
Americans Return to Denmark
June’s announcement means that American tourists with European Commission-approved vaccines (Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson) can enter Denmark without testing or quarantine requirements if they present proof of vaccination and are at least two weeks past the final dose. Tourists not yet fully vaccinated must show a negative test taken no more than 72 hours (for PCR tests) or 42 hours (for antigen tests) before entry.
“Once they’ve arrived, travelers must show a ‘corona passport’ as either proof of vaccination or a negative test to visit many cultural institutions or to enjoy indoor dining,” said Katinka Friis, the public relations and press manager of Visit Denmark. Although most places will accept an American vaccination card as proof of proof, I have found that they are more than happy to take it. You can make sure you do this by calling ahead or getting a free test. “
Reviving Tourism in Denmark
Denmark reached a milestone in the year leading up to the pandemic: The country registered the highest number of overnight stays in its history at 56.1 million, with approximately half coming from international visitors. While the onslaught of COVID-19 reversed this trend, Denmark, often praised for innovation and sustainability, is reigniting tourism with a similar approach. In recent years, Denmark has been a popular destination for tourists with an interest in design, gastronomy and green living. “Coming out of the pandemic strong will hopefully mean these places not only survive, but also that the ideas born during COVID-19 will thrive and add new life into the destination. “
For example, many of Denmark’s top restaurants made their food more accessible throughout 2020. Noma, often hailed as the world’s greatest restaurant, created burger bar Popl as a more affordable gastronomic experience.
“We have also seen a continuation of the ‘urban farming’ trend post-COVID-19,” Friis said. Noma was also an example. “
And the Danish tendency toward compliance may lead to a quicker recovery. I believe Denmark is in a strong position to make a quick recovery. The pandemic was managed well and the population of Denmark trusts the vaccine program. Christina Thostrup, international sales head for Copenhagen’s d’Angleterre Hotel, stated that she believes Denmark has a strong position.
Coming out of the pandemic strong will hopefully mean these places not only survive, but also that the ideas born during COVID-19 will thrive and add new life into the destination.
Where to Stay in Copenhagen
Denmark won’t disappoint clients seeking “revenge travel” opportunities to indulge more lavishly following prolonged confinement and restrictions. American travelers can now experience the reimagined Villa Copenhagen, which opened in June 2020. This city-center hotel boasts one of the most luxurious suites in Denmark, designed by Danish fine jewelry brand Shamballa, with precious stone and jewelry elements.
Meanwhile, Hotel d’Angleterre is an urban oasis that has always attracted the upscale U.S. market as Copenhagen’s poshest stay. We have always had a healthy percentage of American guests staying at our hotel, particularly before the Baltic cruises leaving from [Copenhagen],” Thostrup.
This prestigious hotel was one of the first to be built globally. It boasts a Michelin-starred restaurant and a luxurious spa. The royal portraits are displayed on public walls.
Traveling to Aarhus, Odense and More Destinations Outside of Copenhagen
When outsiders picture Denmark, they likely envision the brightly colored houses of Nyhavn harbor, the Little Mermaid statue and the iconic 17th-century Round Tower in Copenhagen’s buzzing pedestrian shopping area, Stroget. Visit Denmark predicts that Americans will be drawn to second cities and other remote destinations after the pandemic. This is especially true for those who want to escape crowds and discover authentic experiences.
“We love to see international travelers explore beyond the classic sightseeing, [or] top 10 [places],” Friis said. “The trend towards hidden-gem destinations is expected to continue as more tourists return to Denmark and seek new experiences.” She adds that Denmark has one of the most efficient transport systems in the world, making it easy to explore.
“Compared to American distances, everything in Denmark is within easy reach, and it is even possible to fly out from the airports in West Denmark with a stopover,” she said.
Aarhus, Denmark’s second-largest city, is a vibrant hub for the arts and gastronomy. The ARoS Aarhus Art Museum is one of the largest in Northern Europe, presenting artists from all over the globe across its 10 floors. The 2021 calendar ranges from immersive Icelandic installations to contemporary African artwork. A must-see attraction is the rooftop rainbow, which offers panoramic views of the entire city in multicolored colors.
Odense, Denmark’s third-largest city, is home to the country’s most significant opening for 2021: The H.C. Andersen House. Opened on June 30, this artistic experience reimagines Andersen’s fairy tales, merging architecture, sound, light and a stream of images. Despite being relatively small geographically, Denmark has a surprising variety of natural havens. These include Jaegersborg Dyrehave (a wooded retreat of oak trees located just north of Copenhagen) and the stunning rock formations at Bornholm Island floating in the Baltic Sea. Bornholm leads in sustainability and will open a climate-positive hotel wing of Green Solution House this autumn.
Following a gloomy — literally, and figuratively — 18 months, Denmark welcomes international tourists again, this time to a country even more resilient.
“I have been thrilled to see that the pandemic has not left the industry disheartened, but instead has been an opportunity to strengthen the community spirit — ‘samfundssind’ in Danish, and the Danish word of the year in 2020,” Friis said. “Now that we’re open again, everyone is energized and has taken new initiatives to make the destination more accessible than ever. “
I’m Michelle, and I love to travel. As a former hotel expert for one of the world’s largest hotel chains, I’ve stayed in nearly every type of room imaginable (including many that were not so desirable!). Nowadays, I am fortunate enough to be able to explore the world on my own terms. From international flights to learning different languages, there is nothing too far out of reach!