Denmark is the New Destination for Discerning Indian Travellers

Denmark is the New Destination for Discerning Indian Travellers

Number of Indians visiting Denmark is rapidly increasing, and the Embassy of Denmark in New Delhi ensures that those who want to visit Denmark are issued visa on time. In an interview with TnH, His Excellency, Peter Taksøe-Jensen, Ambassador of Denmark to India, speaks about the vast tourism potential of Denmark and the growing interest from Indians who want to visit Denmark.

Q. How will you describe Denmark as tourist destination for Indians?

Denmark is the new, happening place for Indians to visit. We have the most liveable cities and the happiest people in the world, a clean and green nation with a pleasant climate. We have modest winters, cool summers and a rich heritage. Here in India, you have very hot summer and humid monsoon, so Denmark is the ideal destination for Indians to escape during the hot summer and monsoon season. Denmark is a small country in the northern part of Europe. We are a bridge between the northern countries and continental Europe. As a country surrounded by the sea, we have many beautiful islands and beaches, which Indian tourists definitely would like. Just as the Danish nature, the Capital, Copenhagen is also a beautiful and the most vibrant city with a lot of interesting events for Indian tourists.

As I mentioned, Denmark is the gateway to the North. Many Indians who go to Denmark may also like to visit the other Nordic countries. Denmark is a more than 1000 yearold kingdom with a rich cultural heritage, which is in some way similar to India’s. For instance, we also have magnificent architecture from old days. Vikings emanated from Denmark, and spread to the other Nordic countries. Food is another reason to visit Denmark. Of late, Copenhagen is witnessing new trends in cuisines. Nordic cuisines in Copenhagen have become very popular. New Nordic restaurants are the latest trend. The new Nordic kitchen has gained international appeal around the world and today, the kitchen is highly praised internationally. The new Nordic kitchen is characterized by its uniquely Nordic identity among the world’s greatest cuisines and by its commitment to organic, sustainable and local products.

Denmark has evolved both as an agricultural and a modern industrial country. Industry and Agriculture are the two big economic sectors in the Danish economy. In short, there are many reasons to visit Denmark such as history, culture, heritage, beaches, food, nightlife, etc. Denmark consists of many flourishing cities, which are definitely worth a visit

Q. How are the Indian tourist arrivals to Denmark growing?

I came here last year, and have seen a huge increase in the number of visas being issued by us to Indians. Last year, there was a 30% increase in the number of visas issued by Denmark to Indians. This year in June itself number of visa issued to Indians increased by 57% as compared to June last year. This is not just because Denmark is a lovely place. Many Indians have visited Europe extensively and are now looking for experiences off the beaten track. Denmark has an abundance of those experiences in store for Indian travellers, from the biking culture in the cities, old and modern internationally acclaimed architecture, street food and meatpacking districts, swim-able harbours to our own surfer’s paradise, “Cold Hawaii”, in Northern Jutland.

The significant growth in the number of issued visas is not only a sign of increasing tourism, but also that more and more Indians are coming to Denmark as business travellers. Many are going to Denmark on permanent visa to work there. In total, Denmark issued 28,000 visas to Indians last year, which is a huge number. We expect 30 to 35% increase in the number of visas to be issued to Indians this year. So, overall the number of Indian arrivals to Denmark is growing, and we expect more growth in future with Indians becoming more aware about the opportunities available in Denmark.

Once again many Indians visiting Denmark use it as a gateway to the Nordic countries. Some Indians use Copenhagen to go for cruising in the Baltic Sea. Many use Denmark as hub to go to Iceland, which is also a beautiful country. We are working hard to be able to achieve our target that we have set for our visa section. As we see huge increase in visa applications, we are now hiring more people to process visa applications. We want to increase people–topeople relations between India and Denmark through promotion of tourism. We are working hard towards this end.

Q. Kindly tell us about Denmark’s visa process in India. How simple is it?

Denmark is part of the Schengen visa arrangement, so we have to live up to their standards. We also request applicants to apply for visas as early as possible to provide us with sufficient time to process the application on time so no one has to cancel their visit to Denmark because of a delay in issuing the visa. India is a big country having the size of a subcontinent. Based on this, we are happy to get services of VFS Global to help us collect applications and required documents from various parts of the country. VFS Global verifies and transfers applications to our Embassy in New Delhi and once we process and issue visas, they also help us deliver visas to applicants. Our colleagues at the Embassy work overtime to make sure all those who want to visit Denmark and have applied for visa get it on time.

Q. How is the connectivity between these two countries?

Currently, there is no direct flight between India and Denmark. At present, Indians have to go to Denmark through one of the many hubs. We are working hard to ensure that Air India starts direct flights between Copenhagen and New Delhi. I am confident that this will soon be a reality.

Q. What is your plans and strategy to promote Denmark in India?

Together with the other Nordic countries, we do promotional activities every year in India to attract Indian tourists to the Scandinavia. I think there are good reasons to do such promotional activities, because Denmark or any other Nordic countries are not a top priority in the mind of many Indians. UK is well known among Indians because of its historical connection with India. In addition, Italy, France and Germany are also at the top of Indian’s mind. I think there is lack of awareness about tourism potential here. Therefore, we need to create awareness about Denmark as tourist destination. We have to inform people in India about the great tourism opportunities which the Nordic region offers. Historically, we are just as great as Southern Europe. Besides that, few countries have the kind of natural cleanness and freshness that we have in our country. I am sure that Indians will appreciate to see the Nordic life of Denmark, its culture and heritage. Copenhagen is also gateway to Greenland. Area wise, along with Greenland, Denmark is 12th largest country in the world. Greenland is a very cool and amazing place to visit in the summer.

We are a small country, but we could have done more as far as promotional activities are concerned. I think India is changing fast. The country is growing to become a global economic power. India’s middle class is expanding fast. With people’s income increasing, a lot of people are travelling abroad. So, the growing Indian tourism market offers great opportunities to us and we will continue our efforts to increase awareness about Denmark in this market.

Q. How affordable is Denmark for tourists?

You will find the cost of hotel accommodation same as in the southern Europe. However, restaurants could be a little more expensive. But, you will get a lot of value for money – as mentioned earlier, the food is of international top-quality. I will not claim that we are less expensive than southern Europe, but we offer maximum value for money and you will not mind spending a little extra considering the kind of experience we offer. As compared to the other Nordic countries we are certainly less expensive. Denmark is a popular and cheap destination because of its tax-free goods. Tourists from China, India and other countries do a lot of shopping in Denmark.

Q. What is extraordinary about Denmark as tourist destination?

Denmark is a Nordic country. The climate here is very nice and cool. Our heritage is great. You can see historical heritage from ancient Viking days to the present modern days. Our cities are very liveable, which must be explored and experienced. Other important thing is that all Danes speak English so it is very easy to communicate with service providers and local people. As Denmark is a small country, every place here is very close to each other which makes it very easy to explore many parts of the country and the diversity between cities and the vast countryside and coast lines. Finally, you have to visit Denmark to get to know our unique concept of “hygge” (best translated to cosiness) and enjoy the Danish charm, beauty, freshness and hospitality.

Q. Is there a need to expand visa infrastructure in India?

We have good visa infrastructure here, and as I mentioned before, the number of visas being issued by us are growing immensely and we are taking note of this growth. This also increases the pressure on our people so we may need to raise our human resources. But as the situation is now we don’t see a need to expand our infrastructure. We are happy with our collaboration with VFS Global. As we go ahead and receive more and more applications, we will ensure more activity so that that everyone gets visa on time.

Q. What are reasons for Danes being the happiest people in the world?

We have for several years in a row been recognized as the happiest people in the world. It has much to do with the way our society is organized. We have strong social security systems, stronger than any rich country of the world. We have free education and free healthcare for all. Unemployed people are provided unemployment allowances. Senior citizens receive enough pensions to live a happy life. We also have a very high level of trust in our society and that, together with our welfare system, make us the happiest people in the world.

Q. What are the cities you like in India?

I have been travelling here a lot since I came to India. I had some apprehension upon arrival. I was worried about how to cope with the Indian climate, but so far, it is better than I expected. Delhi is a nice city, although there are issues of traffic and air pollution. In addition, I like Mumbai because of its seaside and beaches. Chennai is also a great city. Goa is also beautiful place. In fact, there are many places I like here in India.

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