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Uni-valg – på den nye måde

Ystad has a Wallander package, Paris offers a Da Vinci trip, and Oxford has Harry Potter tours. It’s called film tourism, and it has grown into a world-wide phenomenon. In Denmark film tourism is still relatively new, but one expert believes that in future Danish towns and cities will play an increasingly major role when tourists want to see where films really took place.

They’re rather stout, they have long, flexible, brown fingers and kind faces, and they have a deep, infectious laugh. So who are they? Hobbits. And they are the reason why New Zealand has become ‘my precious’ for so many tourists. Anne Marit Waade, an associate professor of Media Studies at Aarhus University, calls it film tourism. It involves following in the footsteps of your heroes of the silver screen. She has recently been on a trip to New Zealand to see how the country has profited from the films based on ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’.

New Zealand is a beautiful place, and the country and films have both benefited from their association with each other:

“Production companies and local tourist companies in New Zealand started a strategic partnership even before the films were made. The production of the films has been an extra attraction that has turned into a multi-million dollar business. These days New Zealand is almost synonymous with Tolkien’s literary works,” explains Anne Marit Waade, who has been carrying out research into film tourism and the importance of film locations for the past five years.

Ystad is a holiday destination to die for!

You can follow in Frodo’s footsteps in New Zealand, but this isn’t the only place where the production of films is linked to specific tourist destinations. The production of film and TV series has led to a good deal of tourism in many other locations around the world, as well. Paris offers a Da Vinci holiday, Oxford has Harry Potter Tours, and then there is Ystad, which has a Wallander package to die for!

“Ystad is the most successful film and footstep destination for tourists in a Scandinavian context. The recording of Henning Mankell’s detective stories starring Kurt Wallander has attracted enormous attention, because in Ystad they have adopted a professional and strategic approach and worked hard to combine television production, media tourism and regional development,” says Anne Marit Waade, who has just published a book shedding light on the vital role of landscapes, light and a provincial environment in TV series and the way they are marketed.

Ystad is a small town the size of Ebeltoft, but it has been marketed all over the world. And the tourists flock to Ystad every time the series is transmitted in Sweden, the UK or Germany. What they offer in Ystad is an authentic kick – or rather a staged form of authenticity – involving visits to Wallander cafés, Wallander flats, Wallander murder routes etc.

‘The Killing’ in Copenhagen
Film tourism is popular – and not only among film geeks. Anne Marit Waade divides this new breed of film tourists into three types: Fans or film geeks, who are always highly motivated to see film locations with their own eyes. Tourists for whom this kind of footstep tourism is just an add-on to their holiday (they might as well visit the location while they’re in the area anyway). And tourists who had no idea about the location when they left home, but don’t mind taking a look.

So people’s incentives for visiting film locations vary a lot. But film tourism is undoubtedly popular. And it’s starting to take off in Denmark, too. The desire to follow in the footsteps of famous people and relive popular stories is by no means a new phenomenon, underlines Anne Marit Waade, mentioning ghost tourism in the UK and Hans Christian Andersen tourism in Denmark by way of example. The difference is that these days film tourism is based on major strategic initiatives, and the phenomenon is on its way to Denmark as well.

“Most recently the filming of ‘Dicte’ in Aarhus led to a unique form of teamwork between tourist managers, film producers and the Aarhus region; and in general there is increasing awareness of the importance of films and TV series in creating extra tourist attractions – as well as a tendency for locations to become more significant in future,” she explains. By way of example she mentions ‘The Killing’ in Copenhagen, where you can follow in the footsteps of yet another hero. A hero in a famous Icelandic sweater.

Film tourism to

New Zealand: Follow in Frodo’s footsteps


Sweden: Follow in Wallander’s footsteps


France: Follow in Da Vinci’s footsteps


The UK: Follow in Harry Potter’s footsteps


Denmark: Follow in Sarah Lund’s footsteps



For further information
Anne Marit Waade, associate professor
Aarhus University, Department of Aesthetics and Communication, Media Studies
Email: amwaade@hum.au.dkamwaade@hum.au.dk
Tel.: +45 8716 2009
Mobile: 4023 1785