Copenhagen declares “The End of Tourism as We Know It” in 4-year destination strategy

David Archer

2 February 2017

Wonderful Copenhagen has just announced the destination strategy that will lead it through 2020 and beyond. Written in consultation with Destination Think, the plan outlines seismic shifts in the DMO’s role, and begins by describing what Copenhagen will leave behind, with a wink and a smile:

Wonderful Copenhagen concludes the end of the era of tourism, as we know it.

We pay our respects to the tourists of the past, the mass consumers and the passing days of disconnected tourist segmentation between business and leisure, city and countryside, culture and cycling.

We bid farewell to an era of tourism as an isolated industry bubble of culture and leisure experts.

We leave behind days of equating tourism marketing with glossy picture-perfect advertising.

We recognize the expiration of our role as the destination’s promotional superstar, the official Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) with authoritative consumer influence, broadcasting superiority and an exclusive right to promote and shape a destination.”

What comes after the end of tourism? “Localhood for everyone.”

Don’t worry, the sky isn’t falling. Wonderful Copenhagen places people at the centre of its vision and imagines that the destination’s future will be co-created by residents, industry, and visitors. In part, this emphasis comes in response to the impact tourism can have on the quality of life for residents, for better or worse. As European cities like Barcelona and Venice struggle with increasing visitation caused by mass tourism, some destinations (like Copenhagen) seek a solution in which tourism can provide a net benefit to locals and visitors alike.

“By declaring ‘localhood for everyone,’ Wonderful Copenhagen encourages its destination to think of its visitors as temporary residents, instead of as tourists,” says Destination Think’s Chief Strategist, William Bakker.

“As a resident, you’re part of the community, and you contribute to it. The shift here is that the tourism industry can also help visitors add value to the community, instead of asking permanent residents to exchange their quality of life for money.”

Bakker was part of the Think consulting team (led by city marketing expert Frank Cuypers) that reviewed Wonderful Copenhagen’s strategy before its release, measuring it against trends that affect the DMO’s role, as well as challenges and other requirements the DMO will face.

Wonderful Copenhagen has outlined five strategic coordinates to keep the destination on track:

  • Shareability is king: To enable travellers, partners, and influencers to create shareable moments.
  • Once attracted, twice valued: A strategy to encourage repeat visitation.
  • Tomorrow’s business today: Attracting new visitors from growing markets.
  • Co-innovation at heart: Opportunities for the industry to work together for the benefit of all.
  • People-based growth: Making tourism a win-win scenario for residents and visitors. “Visitor growth in itself is not a goal. Increasing the value of visitors for all parties is.”

Click to read about and download Wonderful Copenhagen’s new strategic document.

Are you developing your destination’s strategy? Destination Think has an array of services that can support the development and implementation of your strategic plan. Contact our team to learn more.


  1. Andre Lemmer

    Africa = Destination(s) Countries Provinces Cities`
    Travel = All modes of Travel / Product & Service
    Trade = All aspects of Marketing & Sales = Product & Services.
    Tourism = Experience..Service..Facilities ..Support..Expertise

  2. luca fois

    I agree.”Experience” is a 3d world, multi level, multi directions, multi sense, multi skills….multi all, in which empathy is the first approach and “relation design” is the method but experience co-design is an innovative way to envolve different territorials stakholders.

  3. Andrea

    I completely agree!

  4. Luis Daniel Gonzalez

    We are all about a deeply transformational sustaible&regenerative&glocal macro project that affects de the lives of 25 k people and aims to become a blueprint for a much better world. We would love to connect with you!!!

    • David Archer

      Hi Luis, thanks for your comment. I’d be happy to connect; you can email me at

    • Eleonora

      This is our goal too. We strongly believe in the role of relations in tourism, and we also see craftsmanship as a connector of different kind of experiences: culture, local environment, anthropology, manufacture, you can learn all of these inside an artisan workshop. And we’d love to keep in touch, and share our point of view! 🙂

      • David Archer

        Thanks Eleonora, please feel free to get in touch by email at to let us know a little more about your perspective.

  5. roos

    Dear David,
    Would like to get in contact with you, we are working on similar ideas with tourism and leisure students in Amsterdam!
    Kinds regards,

  6. Iain Hurre

    Best tourism article I’ve ever read on LinkedIn ever, one of the big questions is how do you stop existing strategies from wasting more time on old rope marketing.

  7. Graeme Jackson

    I love it! Great to see a destination focusing on what really matters (not simply growth, for growth’s sake…) This really echoes our work, and is a strong signal to other DMOs to start thinking about managing, not just marketing, their destination.

  8. Emmanuel Delay

    Het font on this webpage is not well readable. Pick a darker grey for the text, or a thicker font. Looking nice is way way less important than “finding buttons easily”, “reading the text”.

    Nice plan though. That’s what Brussels should do too.

  9. Jeff Weibel

    Probably the most thought provoking article on destination marketing that I have read in a while. Kudos to Copenhagen and Destination Think.

  10. James Jordan

    Lots of insightful thoughts about destination marketing! Can’t agree more. thanks for sharing

    • Kelly Cubbon

      Thank you kindly for your positive feedback James. We’re glad you found the article useful!

  11. Kunal Singh

    Nice Article. This is more informative for me. I love it! Great to see a destination focusing on what really matters whenever someone discuss topics with me related to travel and tourism, I always suggest them to go for international tourism specially India tourism and visit historical places of India. Mostly peoples are get full enjoyed the India tourism with local travel agency such as B2B Hospitality is a leading well known Indian travel agency popular for exploring various India tour packages. Hopefully you may will enjoy India tourism…

    To get more information about India tourism and India tour packages visit :

  12. Pangaea Network

    Very nice!!! Thanks for sharing this information. Really Great…

  13. Olga

    Copenhagen is doing a great job! This city is so popular today that it fell into our research too! As a team of digital agency we analyzed the top 25 Global Cities of the Future by fDi magazine and checked how these cities localize and internationalize their official websites. Copenhagen is 11th by the total number of visitors per month and web traffic by country among the researched 25 cities, Copenhagen does not have a good time with the language options on the site, there are only 3 countries which is not the best way to provide users with language options, because they have an opportunity to choose the particular country’s site version, but not the lingual one. You can see the full version of our study on the following pages:
    We are looking forward to getting a feedback from you! If you have a desire to collaborate with us, we will respond with pleasure. At the moment we are working on a research of 300 cities in which we also analyze the city’s digital presence.


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