Concern that offshore wind farms undermine local tourism "is more a subjective fear…than a measurable fact," according to a report published by the German Offshore Wind Energy Foundation. In fact, public fascination with the sector’s technology and wind farms' scale offers tourism opportunities.
"Very few" negative effects on tourism have been observed during or after offshore wind farms' construction, according to The Impact of Offshore Wind Energy on Tourism. Tourists do not avoid areas where offshore wind farms are located and there is some evidence that more visitors are attracted to towns or harbours close to offshore turbines.
In the Danish coastal town of Nysted, the number of sailing boats visiting the harbour has increased, since the completion of a 72-turbine project. This is thought to be because boats are allowed to sail through the wind farm using specified routes.
Boat tours to offshore wind farms also offer potential, although the report notes that an attempt to offer catamaran trips to Alpha Ventus during the summer of 2012 was largely unsuccessful, due to rough seas. Ferry cruises, such as those recently offered by Stena Line to Anholt may be a more realistic, if less exciting, option.
Land-based visitor centres about specific offshore wind projects, as well as exhibitions about offshore wind energy technology, are also examined. A highly-successful exhibition aboard a boat that toured harbours in northern Germany for three consecutive summers is discussed, as is the success of E.ON’s visitor centre in Great Yarmouth. Within sight of the company’s Scroby Sands wind farm, it attracts more than 35,000 people a year.