Institut for Kultur og Læring

Danish coastal tourism

New kinds of experiences are needed to boost Danish coastal tourism

Press release 2 February 2016

Over the past ten years, Danish coastal tourism has been operating in a rapidly developing competitive market, and the international demand for coastal vacations in Denmark has declined.

 One of the explanations for the loss of market share experienced by Danish coastal tourism is lack of innovation. In part, this is due to a lack of detailed knowledge regarding demand patterns. On the other hand, it is also the result of a commercial structure featuring geographically dispersed and loosely connected local contractors with rather limited access to whatever market-relevant knowledge has accumulated.

How can we find intelligent ways to gather knowledge about different types of coastal tourists, and how can we disseminate this knowledge, converting it into innovative experiences which cater to international markets? Holistic solutions that cut across sectors and destinations are among the building blocks of the InnoCoast project. Such solutions will help to reduce the uneven seasonal distribution and thus make coastal tourism economically viable for local businesses such as kayak rental companies, holiday centres and local food producers.

“There are a number of small businesses which are not particularly well connected. Typically, they lack the resources to conduct independent investigations of their markets. It is important that they gain access to this knowledge and are linked up through networks,” says Anette Therkelsen, Associate Professor in the Department of Culture and Global Studies at Aalborg University.

The aim of the InnoCoast project is thus to generate research-based knowledge that will help local companies with experience innovation in nature tourism, cultural tourism and food tourism.

The project has a multi-pronged approach to innovation, focusing on how tourist experiences are created in the interaction between tourists, tourism stakeholders and public authorities.

The Innovation Fund has given InnoCoast economic leverage, and the project will result in new business models, new networks and new proposals for experience design, thus promoting the development of nature tourism, cultural tourism and food tourism. These initiatives will include suggestions regarding ways in which local businesses can take advantage of the sharing economy and of digital solutions.

By rethinking the cooperation between public actors, private actors and researchers, InnoCoast will facilitate the establishment of value-creating clusters across sectors and the creation of a diversified range of experiences for tourists visiting Danish coastal areas.


The aim of the InnoCoast project is to increase the earnings of small businesses. In addition, the aim is to increase the number of tourists in general and the number of nationalities whose citizens choose the coast of Denmark as a destination. Today it is Scandinavians and Germans in particular who are attracted to Danish coastal destinations. The means to create change include stronger networks within the tourist industry and new types of adventure on offer.

Download project description in PDF format (in Danish only).



Project manager
Aalborg University, 9220 Aalborg Ø, Denmark, Associate Professor Anette Therkelsen,, +45 9940 9139/mob. +45 2497 2212


Dansk Kyst- og Naturturisme [Danish Coastal and Nature Tourism], 9440 Aabybro, Denmark, Team Leader Jacob Larsen,, 5168 5345

Copenhagen Business School, 2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark,  Associate Professor Ana Maria Munar,, +45 3815 2538

Roskilde University, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark, Professor Jon Sundbo,, +45 4674 2161

University of Southern Denmark, 6000 Kolding, Denmark, Professor Anne-Mette Hjalager,, +45 6550 4220

VisitDenmark, 2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark, Lars Erik Jønsson,, tel.: +45 3288 9900 / Mobile +45 2066 6821

Centre for Regional and Tourism Research, 3730 Nexø, Denmark,  Director Lene Andersen,, +45 5644 0022

The Association of Danish Holiday House Letters, 1160 Copenhagen K, Director, Carlos Lassen,, +45 9630 2244



Innovation Fund Denmark investment: DKK 6 million
Total project budget: DKK 8,3 million
Duration of the project: 3 years

The official title of the project: Innovation in Coastal Tourism: Co-Creating Competitive Experiences (InnoCoast)

Projektet er sponsoreret af