Copenhagen may have figured out how to get tourists to behave.

The Danish capital is launching an initiative this month to reward climate-conscious visitors with incentives such as free meals, wine, kayaking tours, and complimentary entry to museums.

Tourists and locals will be rewarded for their green deeds, such as arriving at a tourist attraction on a bike or picking up litter.

For instance, those who take a train or ride a bike to Copenhagen’s heating plant can then ski down its sloped roof.

Meanwhile, visitors who show up with a piece of plastic waste at the National Gallery of Denmark can get involved in workshops that turn that waste into art.

The city tourism board said that while proof of these green deeds is desirable, the CopenPay scheme will operate mainly on trust. A report from the Pew Research Center has shown that Denmark has the highest levels of personal trust in the world.

Tourism generates a huge amount of money for Denmark. Official statistics from the Danish government show that the country welcomed an estimated 15 million tourists in 2023. According to Statista, revenue from tourism in 2021 was around 118.2 billion Danish kroner or about $17.5 billion.

“With CopenPay, we’re empowering people to experience more of what Copenhagen offers while placing less burden on our planet. It’s about creating meaningful and memorable experiences that are enjoyable and environmentally responsible,” said Mikkel Aarø Hansen, CEO of Wonderful Copenhagen.

According to Copenhagen’s tourism board, the initiative aims to reduce tourism’s environmental burden rather than attract more tourists to the region.

The disclaimer comes in the wake of anti-tourist protests in Barcelona, where visitors were sprayed by locals with water guns in a bid to deter overtourism in the country.

Other cities, such as Venice, have implemented a daily tourist fee to deter visitors from arriving on certain days.

The CopenPay scheme will begin on a trial basis on July 15 and run for one month.



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