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In Search of Nordicity: How New Nordic Cuisine Shaped Destination Branding in Copenhagen

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This article looks at the branding of Copenhagen as a food destination through the advent of the New Nordic Cuisine movement and how this may change the way we think about destination branding. The destination management organization of Copenhagen opportunistically embraced the New Nordic Cuisine concept, which then posed several destination branding challenges. The first challenge is that a destination brand should accentuate the authenticity and uniqueness of the locality to distinguish the destination from competition. Branding a destination as part of a region, in this case "New Nordic Cuisine," questions the brand's usefulness in relation to the branding of a specific city. The second challenge is concerned with the "local turn," using local and seasonal produce as the main focus in branding the New Nordic Cuisine. This concept is neither new nor original and can be easily adapted for other places, thus questioning the "uniqueness" of the destination branding. The article addresses these challenges and shows, first, how a vague and ambiguous term like "Nordic" can be a focal point for local and international audiences; and second, that the brand message issue is not what is authentically or uniquely Danish but what others imagine an authentic and unique Denmark to be. The study points to an emergent and opportunistic, transterritorial strategy in destination branding built largely on accreditation and a global recognition that is vague and even inaccurate. The article reports findings from an inductive, in-depth, longitudinal study of the New Nordic Cuisine and its movement's development in relation to branding Copenhagen as a tourism destination.
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Keywords: DESTINATION BRANDING; FOOD TOURISM; LOCAL TURN; NEW NORDIC CUISINE; TRANSTERRITORIAL BRANDING

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 17 October 2017

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