City Creators

A COWI blog about Urban Development

‘Mit praktikophold hos COWI’

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På Aalborg Universitet er det muligt at vælge at bruge 9. semester på et virksomhedspraktik-ophold. Det var mit store ønske at komme ud at afprøve og udvikle mine faglige kompetencer, og jeg var meget glad for at det lykkes at få en plads hos COWI i Aalborg, i afdelingen for By- og trafikplanlægning.

Jeg læser Urban Planning and Management (Byplanlægning) og har en særlig interesse inden for planlægningsjura samt udviklings- og lokalplanlægning. Sammen med mine nye kollegaer blev jeg enig i at arbejde med turismeplanlægning – ud fra en undersøgelse af, hvordan turismeplanlægning foregår, herunder sammenhængen med plansystemet og den offentlige debat om turismeudvikling både blandt politikkere, turismeindustrien samt planlægningsfaglige. Det er nemlig meget interessant at turismeplanlægning er en stærk sektor med mange indsatsområder, herunder kun én møntet mod fysisk planlægning, men ikke som en egentlig del af plansystemet. På den anden side skal kommuneplaner og efterfølgende lokalplaner behandle turisme, så dette for så vidt parallelforløb var jeg interesseret i at undersøge nærmere.

Studiet kræver, at vi arbejder på engelsk på kandidatdelen, så du kan herunder på engelsk læse mere om mine undersøgelser omkring turismeplanlægning og erfaringer med praktikopholdet generelt.

Doing tourism development as spatial planning

In Denmark, the tourism industry represents an important economic and socio-economic role with a total turnover of 97.5 billion DKK (VisitDenmark, 2016). Since 2010 Denmark has been challenged by international competition and have lost market shares, according to the Ministry of Economic and Business Affairs (2011). With basis in the public tourism development debate, this research argue that a public discourse has been prominent since 2011 framing that ‘a competitive Danish tourism industry must be developed’.

The recurring metaphors found in the public debate circles around ‘growth’ and ‘value’. ‘Value-for-money’-tourism, ‘value-chains’, tourism as ‘growth-driver’ and nature and environment as ‘growth-facilitator’ (Danish Government, 2014; Growth Team of Tourism and Experience Economy, 2013).

An identified storyline in the tourism development debate is the criticism of the rigid Danish framework conditions. This storyline is both supported by arguments of regulation in relation to the business- and market conditions but also in relation to spatial regulation. In the beginning of the debate in 2011 the Minister of Economic and Business Affairs had made several researches and been in a dialogue with the tourism industry. They all came to the conclusion that there had to be more flexibility in planning of tourism development, which then also became an initiative of a report called Renewal and Growth in Tourism Industry. In line with that, the Danish Government also advocated for better regulatory framework conditions in the market and in the spatial regulation. In relation to the spatial regulation the debate revolves mostly around the coastal regulation. A representative from Danish Business (Dansk Erhverv) utter in an article from Local Government Denmark (2015) that “coastal protection is an obstacle to tourism development at the coast.”

With point of departure in the changed tourism industry, this paper argue that the tourism development is moving away from the preserving rationale into a growth and entrepreneurialism rationale. Today the goals and visions of Danish tourism development is mostly concerned with the economic and the socio-cultural dimension. This is visible in the desire to increase growth and employment as well as securing quality and service of the Danish tourism product. This contradicts the desire to develop tourism from an appropriate sustainable foundation where both environmental, economic and socio-economic dimensions are included.

In order to include the environmental dimension, to a greater extend, this research argue that the tourism development planning should be closer connected and integrated into The Danish Planning System, as a new regulatory tool. A tourism development closer connected to The Danish Planning System create a stronger citizens involvement and secure that the development is made on an appropriate basis, with regard to nature and environment. Furthermore, the environmental sustainability should be secured by encourage local planners to take part in the political debate, as well as engage in tourism development process to secure a sustainable tourism development that includes all dimensions.

In addition to the regulatory system of tourism planning there is also an interesting issue of the connections between the implemented National Tourism Forum and the Danish Planning System and what they both ought to facilitate in society, namely: growth and development.

Being an intern at COWI

During the internship, I worked in several ongoing projects, both with transportation planning, retail planning, local planning as well as design of maps and masterplans. Being connected to relevant and genuine projects for clients has given much professional- and practical learning. It has also given me the opportunity to experience and use new tools, used in the urban planning field.

The project managers, I have worked in connection with, have given me responsibility to develop professionally by allowing me, to work from my own approach in many cases. It has been a good professional learning, for me, to both have projects where the task has been specifically described (for instance with updating maps/masterplans) but also having projects were my own interpretation and methodology has been put into place (for instance with devising bicycle applications or local plans).

In relation to being an intern in COWI, especially the work flow with meetings, client support/contact, innovation, digitalising projects/ideas, dealing with sales of services and effectiveness have given professional learning and a unique insight in what company COWI is and stands for.

Vil du vide mere om turismeplanlægning eller om at være praktikant i COWI?


Gritt Gylling Sørensen, 10. semester Urban Planning and Management, AAU, +45 29884120


Line Hvingel, COWI

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