If you ask Chinese travellers, they say that language and culture are the greatest barriers when they decide whether to go to Europe on holiday or on business.
For this reason, Copenhagen Airport now follows up on the success of offering Chinese guides and courses in Chinese culture to airport retail staff by launching a Chinese app and a Chinese website.
These initiatives are essential in order for Denmark to attract Chinese travellers according to Peter Rømer Hansen, Development Director at Wonderful Copenhagen.
Chinese are digital travellers
"Chinese tourists use digital and online facilities today. Before they travel, they actively seek information and inspiration in Chinese. And when people from China travel to Copenhagen and Scandinavia, they ask for more information and service in Chinese," says Peter Rømer Hansen.
The Lord Mayor of Copenhagen Frank Jensen praises the CPH initiative:
Competetion is fierce
"Copenhagen is a popular destination for Chinese tourists, and the number of visitors from China are increasing rapidly. The competition in Europe for tourists is fierce, and therefore I also think that it is very positive that Copenhagen Airport now focuses on meeting the Chinese in their own language. We also do in Copenhagen, where we have a Chinese version of the municipality's website kk.dk, "said Jensen.
Close to 60,000 Chinese people currently travel through Copenhagen each year, a number CPH is expecting will grow in the years to come, says Copenhagen Airport's VP for Sales and Marketing Carsten Nørland:
To spot Denmark
80 million Chinese people travelled abroad last year, four million of them to Europe. And this number is growing.
"If Denmark is to get a share of this travel boom, it is essential that the Chinese spot Denmark, and that when they come here, we give them a warm welcome in their own language and paying attention to their own culture," Nørland adds.
Study Chinese culture
In the past year, Copenhagen Airport has recruited so far 17 Chinese guides who all live in Denmark. A number of courses have been held for staff working at the shopping centre teaching them how to treat Chinese guests; Chinese-language signs have been developed; and a Chinese welcome brochure is now available.
Copenhagen Airport has 23 million passengers per year, and the close to 60,000 Chinese passengers may not seem to be such a great number.
Future Asian growth
"One might say it is a bit too much we do for a so far relatively small group of travellers. But we see it as an investment in the future, and we expect that quite a large proportion of the airport's future growth will come from China and Asia," said Nørland.
The airport shops also embrace Chinese visitors: they generally spend three times as much as average travellers. At several of the luxury shops, close to 50% of sales are to Chinese passengers.
• Language is the greatest problem for Chinese travellers, as shown by a survey of satisfaction among the Chinese people who travel through Copenhagen Airport each year.
• Eight out of ten Chinese travellers at Copenhagen Airport have a smartphone. In China, more than 500 million people use the Internet.
• Copenhagen Airport's new app can translate signs, show the way and provide information in Chinese about everything from menu cards and duty- and tax-free shopping to departure times and gates.
• Also a Chinese version of CPH's website is launched.
• WONDERFULL COPENHAGEN is working on the Scandinavian Chinavia project, among other things involving the development of Chinese websites, maps, apps and service courses for the tourism industry.
• The City of Copenhagen has been a sister city of Beijing since 2012, and among other things a cooperation agreement with Beijing on tourism and sustainable urban development