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Strategy A Great Place

Photo: Jesper Maagaard


Sustainable growth strategy for tourism in the Aarhus region from 2021

The dream of more and better tourism 

In a time, where the world is turned upside down, we need more than ever to set the course for the future. That is the reason why we launch this strategy for tourism in the Aarhus region now. We need to stand together and make targeted initiatives, which not only brings us faster through the crisis but also gives us a head start for the future after the crisis.

The strategy is our plan for tourism in a world, where we travel again and where we bounce back.

A Great Place

A great place is more a rebuilding strategy than a crisis strategy. We are convinced that we need to restart the visitor economy and revisit our approach to development of tourism and destination at the other side of the pandemic. Tourism is on the way into a new era.

A great place is an ambition to improve tourism in balance with nature and culture and the approx. 824,000 citizens in the Aarhus region. A good place to stay, is a good place to visit and a strong visitor economy also makes the Aarhus region a better place to live.

A great place focuses attention on the new rules and values ensuring the transformation of tourism in the Aarhus region into a new era. An era, where tourism takes a broader responsibility for the place and society in which it is a part.

The mission of VisitAarhus is to develop tourism and promote the Aarhus region as a destination for holiday and business tourism as well as contribute to creating value locally, regionally, and nationally.

Video - Pia, A great place to live is a great place to visit
Photo: VisitAarhus

Our top priorities

Our top priorities – thing we must succeed with:

We must rebuild tourism after the pandemic. As a destination management organisation we must contribute to re-establish what has been lost in the tourism and experience industry and we must help companies and business areas through the long-term structural changes resulting from the crisis.

Leadership based on sustainability
We will prioritise our resources and competencies to ensure sustainable tourism and we will unfold the potential of the visitor economy to contribute to a sustainable urban life and nature experiences. We will take on leadership by sustainable development of tourism both financially, socially and environmentally.

Local support and participation
At its core, tourism is the meeting between people and the experience of culture and communities. The Aarhus region has strong communities and a strong tradition for participation and voluntariness. We must make use of this to exploit the full potential of tourism and we must ensure long-term public support for tourism.

A broader conversation on tourism
You must earn the role of being a destination management organisation. As an organisation, we have a high visibility, and we are clear on our values, competencies, and value creation. With this strategy, we invite more than 400 tourism companies, eight municipalities and more than 2,100 volunteers to collaborate. We also reach out to those we do not know yet. With tourism as a means rather than a goal, tourism will be relevant for more and we assume a new role to strengthen, push and inspire the development across.

Tourism is on its way into a new era

Paying attention to the major changes in our surroundings, the task right now is to make a clever and fast transition of products and value offers. We do that with an intense focus on tendencies affecting tourism. Among other:

Time for shifting gear to green tourism

Mor datter fodrer ænder i Viborg
Photo: Jesper Maagaard

Using the pandemic as a starting point, we have a great opportunity to push the green transition. The work to rebuild tourism starts an important and necessary conversation on what and how to rebuild. VisitAarhus is committed to base this rebuilding process on a ’Build Back Better’ mindset to come out stronger and more sustainable on the other side.

The work with sustainability and growth includes difficult choices, but it also holds a huge potential, which is basically about finding the balance between on the one side the positive effects of tourism on growth, and on the other side employment and environmental and social considerations as well as prioritisations.

Tourism can and must contribute broader to the sustainable development of society beyond the classic goals for economic growth in terms of overnight stays and revenues.

We will work with climate-related, social, and economic sustainability as a prerequisite for a balanced growth in tourism instead of just talking about higher growth.

A broader perspective on tourism

The world largest limestone mines, Mønsted Kalkgruber, by Viborg
Photo: Mads Gregersen

Tourism takes place in our local community every single day – at the museum around the corner, in your summer house, in our culture house, at the local restaurant at the harbour outside your workplace. Tourism affects our everyday life and contributes positively to a strong and varied local life with cultural offers, shops, restaurants and grocery shops. It is decisive that tourism takes place in a dialogue and is balanced in relation to the local community if citizens should continue to support tourism.

Tourism is not a goal but a means to create results on several parameters: as a basis for employment, settlements, physical development, infrastructure, attraction of talents, quality of life and investments.

This is how we will create value with tourism

Tourism in the Aarhus region must contribute to create growth and results both financially, socially and environmentally. We will strengthen and develop tourism through three tracks:

  1. Balanced growth
  2. Local pride and community
  3. Greener tourism

Balanced growth

The continued growth in tourism in the Aarhus region holds a great potential for the local economy and employment.
The ambition is to strengthen and secure the tourism industry as the foundation for a balanced economic development in the region.
This development can only succeed with our new destination geography and the strong and committed collaboration between all relevant stakeholders.

In the short run, VisitAarhus and our collaborators will rebuild the tourism and experience economy in the Aarhus region. It is our top priority to rebuild tourism. The efforts must prepare the tourism business to recapture markets, create visibility and accessibility in pace with the reopening of society and build a long-term sustainable business:

  • Tourism must get back on the growth track with ambitious goals for attracting meetings and conferences as well as a higher number of overnight stays and tourism revenue
  • International guests will visit the Aarhus region again
  • Tourist businesses must be strengthened in a time of crisis through innovation, business development and new partnerships
  • The accessibility to the Aarhus region must be restored

In the longer run, VisitAarhus will focus on creating a balanced, continued sustainable development in the tourism and experience industry to the benefit of the entire Aarhus region:

  • Guests must spend more money
  • The capacity must be increased, developed and used better 
  • Tourism must be strengthened in the entire Aarhus region and attract as well as yield interest on investments in a broader business development perspective 

In continuation of A great place, VisitAarhus will initiate more specific initiatives to achieve a balanced growth in tourism.
See the action plan (only in Danish)

Local pride and community

The Aarhus region IS a great place to live and visit. In 2020 and 2021, Aarhus has been appointed the second most happy city by the UN.
The active co-ownership, co-decision and commitment of the local citizens are decisive for the attractiveness of a destination. Tourism frames and supports stories about places and contributes to creating identity among both local citizens and guests.
We believe that tourism has a great potential for contributing to local pride, which rubs off on visitors.

In the short run, focus is on creating positive meetings between guests and local citizens in the Aarhus region and on inviting visitors into the community tourism also creates. It is our top priority to ensure local support and participation:

  • More conversations about tourism
  • Voluntariness and active local involvement
  • Feeling welcome in the community

In the long run, focus is on creating a broader collaboration on developing attractive places and local communities as well as increasing guest satisfaction:  

  • Sustainable places 
  • Guest satisfaction must be increased 

In continuation of A great place, VisitAarhus will initiate more specific initiatives to achieve local pride and community.
See the action plan (only in Danish)

Greener tourism

Tourism stakeholders in the Aarhus region must take a joint responsibility for strengthening of the positive contribution of tourism to a sustainable future and to reducing the negative climate footprint.
It is a top priority that we as a destination management organisation take on a leading role in promoting green transition in tourism. We do this in close collaboration with tourist businesses and municipalities in the Aarhus region and by taking part in relevant national and international networks and collaborations. 

In the short run, we focus on establishing the right partnerships and dialogues and on strengthening and adapting our own communication:

  • The green transition must be strengthened in binding partnerships
  • The green choice must be easy and accessible for guests
  • Sustainable growth from local markets

In the long run, we focus on strengthening innovation and product development in the green area and on developing better tools to measure progression:  

  • Improved foundation for innovation and product development 
  • Better ways to measure and ensure a real change is happening 

In continuation of A great place, VisitAarhus will initiate more specific initiatives to achieve greener tourism.
See the action plan (only in Danish)

Invitation to collaboration

Samarbejde i Aarhusregionen


A great place is our plan for delivering our ambition for more and better tourism in the Aarhus region.

The world changes rapidly, our collaboration is new and VisitAarhus has grown to take on this new task. We have never had a better starting point for taking tourism at our destination to the next level, but challenges are considerable, and all involved need to be ready to adapt to changes.

This strategy has been made in a collaboration with businesses, municipalities and committed people in the Aarhus region. We thank you for your input and commitment and consider you as our partners in the realisation of our ambitions and goals. 

The strategy has been developed during the COVID-crisis, and involvement of stakeholders has been key. There are many stakeholders in the Aarhus region, thus the ambition has been to involve many different voices. VisitAarhus has been consultating key industry partners, the 8 municipalities - both political and administrative level - as well as conversations with a number of national key stakeholders and international partners.

Feedback from stakeholders have emphasized the need of balancing a restart of a healthy tourism economy with the need of contributing to a more sustainable future, reducing the negative impact and optimizing the benefits of tourism. This feedback we have transformed into concrete goals in our strategy as well our action plans.

In the process of developing the strategy, it has been crucial to have the locals in mind, and for that purpose visitor data of our industry and input from our 2200 volunteers/ReThinkers has been implemented. Thus the local citizens are represented in the strategy (both in the title and our KPI's) and it is a key priority to have a close and continuing conversation with the locals.

We have a huge amount of work in front of us;

We will do this work together!

Supported by  Danish Board of Business Development

See more

Strategy: A Great Place
VisitAarhus Strategi
Action Plan (Danish only)
Handlingsplan - strategi
Læs VisitAarhus’ profilfolder
Aarhusregionen profilfolder
VisitAarhus Sustainability Policy
Plantecaféen Plukk i Aarhus

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