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Wonderful Copenhagen is exchanging free experiences for sustainable actions


Wonderful Copenhagen, the Danish capital’s tourism organization, has unveiled an initiative to get visitors to act more sustainably.

Through CopenPay, which rewards tourists for green behavior, the destination is seeking to change the mindset of tourists and encourage green choices.

The green currency scheme offers visitors activities and experiences such as guided museum tours, kayak rentals and a free vegetarian lunch in exchange for green actions such as cycling, helping with clean-up programs and volunteering initiatives.

Mikkel Aarø-Hansen, CEO at Wonderful Copenhagen, said, “It is a core task for us to make traveling sustainable. And we will only succeed if we bridge the large gap between the visitors’ desire to act sustainably and their actual behavior. It might sound simple, but it is not. We want visitors to make conscious, green choices and hopefully end up getting even better experiences while they visit. Through CopenPay we therefore aim to incentivize tourists’ sustainable behavior while enriching their cultural experience of our destination. It is an experimental and a small step towards creating a new mindset amongst travelers and one among many initiatives we are doing to make traveling more sustainable.”

The tourism organization is keeping CopenPay simple by allowing visitors to redeem rewards by turning up to attractions by bike or showing a train ticket, as examples of green actions. The pilot initiative, which launches in the middle of July for a month, has more than 20 attractions participating.

Wonderful Copenhagen points to research from Kantar published last year revealing that 82% of tourists say they want to act sustainably but only 22% have changed their behavior.

Aarø-Hansen added, “We must turn tourism from being an environmental burden into a force for positive change, and one important step in this transformation is to change how we move around on the destination, what we consume, and how we interact with the locals.”

PhocusWire sister company Phocuswright has revealed similar findings in its report – Sustainability Dissonance: What Travelers Say vs. What They Do (and What to Do About It).

The study revealed that although travelers often have good intentions, they are unsure how to travel sustainably, and sustainability considerations don’t tend to impact trip decisions.



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