Copenhagen, known for its eco-conscious approach, is set to incentivize both tourists and residents for environmentally friendly actions such as litter picking or using public transport, offering them free food, coffee, or cultural experiences. The Danish capital is launching its CopenPay program on Monday, which rewards individuals with various benefits upon showing evidence like a train ticket or a cycling photo, though the system largely relies on trust.

The rewards include free kayak or boat tours, vegetarian meals, museum tickets, or e-bicycle rides, as announced by the Copenhagen tourism office. Mikkel Aaro-Hansen, CEO of the tourism board, emphasized the importance of sustainable travel and bridging the gap between the intent and action of visitors. The program, which runs until August 11, offers rewards at 24 attractions.

The public response has been overwhelmingly positive, though some tourists wished the scheme had been available during their visit. Rikke Holm Petersen, communications director at the Copenhagen tourism office, acknowledged that the initiative alone cannot counterbalance the environmental impact of tourism. Data from Copenhagen Airport shows that over 100,000 passengers flew into the city in June, contributing significantly more to carbon emissions than bus or train travel.

VisitCopenhagen highlighted that the environmental impact from travel to and from the city is more substantial than local transportation. The tourism office plans to limit its advertising to Copenhagen Airport, the central station, and within the city, avoiding international marketing campaigns. If successful, the CopenPay scheme may be extended beyond Copenhagen, potentially even internationally, aiming to become a year-round, green payment experience within the economy and expand to other parts of Denmark and the world.