Famed fictional resident helps Ystad land Swedish tourism prize

The draw of Swedish crime novel protagonist Kurt Wallander has helped the coastal town of Ystad in southern Sweden develop an award winning tourism industry.

Famed fictional resident helps Ystad land Swedish tourism prize

The town, which serves as setting for Swedish author Henning Mankell’s popular series of detective books, was awarded the 2009 Grand Tourism Award at a gala event in Stockholm on Thursday.

“This year’s winner gets the heart of this old policeman thumping,” said Björn Eriksson, former national police chief of Sweden and current chair of the Foundation for the Promotion of Expertise in Tourism as he handed over the award during the Swedish Travel and Tourism Gala, held at the Oscar Theatre in the Swedish capital.

“Wallander has definitely put Ystad on the map internationally,” said Eriksson.

The other finalists in the competition included the Orsa Grönklitt skiing and nature park in Dalarna in central Sweden, the Borgafjäll Hotell in northern Sweden, the Vildmark i Värmland nature park, the Gothenburg Film Festival, and the Strömma tour organizers and ferry operators.

Ystad took home the prize due to their successful and goal oriented efforts to develop film tourism in the city.

The jury described it as a fine example of a bold, innovative project which should serve as an role model for attracting a specific target group.

The 100,000 kronor ($14,500) prize is going to be used to arrange and document a seminar focusing on tourism in Ystad.

Mankell’s books featuring the brooding detective from Ystad have sold more than 25 million copies in 37 languages worldwide.

And the popularity of Kurt Wallander has grown even further in the last year following English-language film adaptations by the BBC of three stories starring Kenneth Branagh.

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