They had all come to check out the backdrop to what the British newspaper The Independent calls Sweden’s best export [since IKEA]: Henning Mankell’s Wallander books.

You see, it is in Ystad that Mankell’s inspector Wallander lives and works. And marketing strategist Itta Johnson at Ystad Municipality believes many can learn something from Ystad: “The Wallander books put pressure on us to take the next step. It’s often vice versa you create something new in order to increase the interest in something. That’s where we feel we have something to teach others.” The 26 Swedish films about Wallander were all shot on location in Ystad and pulled money as well as tourists in to the region. And when BBC chose Ystad as the location for their British version of Wallander too (starring Kenneth Branagh), the interest increased even more and Ystad can count on more money pouring in in the future.

“We have yet to see the end to the so-called Wallander tourists,” continues Johnson. “Every year we see how new generations discover the books as well as the films.” She also reveals that Ystad has been visited by so-called location scouts, one of whom came from Hollywood, looking for locations for future films. But Johnson cannot say more. “They never say anything until everything is set anyway.”
What is set is that Ystad’s experiences in film production was the reason it was awarded the Swedish travel and tourist industry’s tourist prize (100 000 SEK or $14,572), and that Ystad is now to teach others how to create good conditions for a lucrative film tourism.

Making a movie? Looking to walk in Wallander's footsteps? See www.ystad.se for more information.