Folkemødet 2014 on Bornholm – ’’STRING Tourism 3.0’’ inspires lively debate

16/06/2014

STRING initiated a debate on ‘’Tourism in STRING – from politics to action’’ during this years political festival on the island of Bornholm, Folkemødet, where there was a lively debate on the tourism development in the STRING region. Prior to the debate, the scene on regional tourism between Hamburg, Copenhagen and Skåne in light of the fixed link was set by the Director of the Centre for Regional and Tourism Research on Bornholm (CRT Bornholm), Lene Feldthus Andersen

Picture above: The STRING panelists, from left to right: Ole Drost, Member of the Regional Council, Region Zealand; Peter Rømer Hansen, Development Director Wonderful Copenhagen;  Peter Reinertz, Chef and previous cross-border communter; Siegfried Matlok, previous Editor of ‘Der Nordschleswiger’; Lars Gaardhøj, Member of the Regional Council, the Capital Region of Denmark; Katarina Erlingson, Vice Chariman of the Regional Council, Region Skåne; Anke Spoorendonk, Minister for Justice, European and Cultural Affairs, Schleswig- Holstein. The debate was moderated by journalist Trine Sick.

Copenhagen sees more international tourism than Hamburg. Denmark has the largest amount of interregional guests in the STRING geography. Hamburg is the gateway to our geography and to tourists form the continent. Nonetheless, the overall overnight stays from tourism in the region is halting – and additional growth is needed.  This growth needs to come externally – from overseas tourism and business travels. Because tourism tendencies in our region has become global.

That was the message sent by Lene Feldthus Andersen on tourism at the seminar held on the 14th of June. She also stated that there are several things that can be turned up a notch in order to gain the maximum benefits from the fixed link once it opens in 2021.

One of these is the establishment of a political coordination between the partners in the STRING region, which is to set the framework and drive the tourism industry forward.

More precisely this is about modernizing and expanding the infrastructure within several fields that will be beneficial to tourism as a sector.  It was also about growing both financial and human capital, which is also a precondition for growth in business in general, Andersen argued.

Market orientation as a joint cause

Another important issue to identify is to invest in further market orientation, Andersen said. Private actors within the industry should thus offer a joint brand, joint products, services and programmes, and therefore create a cross-border product.

In relation to the ‘Building Tourism’ strategy, as developed by STRING in cooperation with the tourism organisations, her advice was to have a clear idea of where to focus the efforts. Accessibility and mobility can be one area; a visible cooperation on marketing of thematic tourist attractions in Germany, Denmark and Sweden another – such as the ‘Perlen der Alpen’ cooperation, a joint marketing initiative of 29 tourism destinations in Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Italy and France.

Andersen also mentioned the tourism cooperation between a number of African countries, where barriers for travelling between these countries have been removed, as a best practice case.

 

Folkemødet 2014 publik

Despite an early morning start, the seminar was well attended.

Broad debate – several topics

Cross-border barriers for a joint labour market, such as differences in tax and social security systems, were also discusses – and how these can be solved. Already existing initiatives in place to aid integration and the tourism sector were also discussed – such as the new European gastronomic education just introduced in Southern Sweden. This new Nordic kitchen and the production of sustainable, high quality groceries could form a brand to attract more tourists to the region both inside and outside the metropoles.

A shimmering…. bridge?

One of the more lighthearted suggestions from one of the panelists was to commission an artist to create a light show in the shape of a laser- brigde; demonstrating the link between the two countries.