The King Is Dead, Long Live the King!

Can an official tourism organization bid farewell to the era of tourism? It seems so as Wonderful Copenhagen did just that, announcing its strategy towards 2020 and beyond. Localhood for everyone is the new refrain.

Wonderful Copenhagen Declares the End of Tourism as We Know It
Wonderful Copenhagen Declares the End of Tourism as We Know It

Evidently, the Airbnb-esque rhetoric begins to proselytize and in this radiant future made of hosts, guests, and sharable experiences the term tourist is definitely banned. These individuals (or microsegments) are referred to as “potential temporary locals” and are asked to stay longer, return regularly, and share their memorable moments via social networks and word of mouth.

With a strategy based on 5 coordinates and 3 targets (socio-economic revenue, visitors’ intention to recommend, and citizens’ support of growth), Wonderful Copenhagen aims to enable the right people to share the right experiences.

The DMO’s role is shifting towards developing and spotlighting the right kind of experiences and engaging the right people at the right time to tell the right stories about the destination based on a shared strategic branding framework.

It’s a matter of promoting the destination through not to visitors. A change of perspective that is becoming increasingly popular. As put by the local manager of another Nordic DMO: “ours is traditionally a destination for mature people, but lately, our advertising campaigns are aimed at millennials because they tell everything and are willing to promote us to their friends and contacts.”

These generous producers of data and information are a gold mine because, in addition to spending and making free publicity, apparently also help to create a more diverse cultural scene and energize the locals (real ones), which in turn are called to do their part by becoming enthusiastic advocates of their city.

According to the GDCI 2016 by MasterCard, Copenhagen is the fourth fastest-growing destination city in Europe but attracts barely one-third of the tourists who visit Berlin and a fifth of those of Amsterdam. Thus, there is the chance of a quality, sustainable growth avoiding to repeat the mistakes made in other tourist areas but it would be advisable to think ahead rather than follow the fashions of the moment. Unfortunately, Wonderful Copenhagen’s new strategy seems just another pretentious royal succession meant to maintain the status quo.

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