06 November 2012

Tourism New Zealand launches massive Hobbit campaign

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Hoping to re-capitalise on some of the magic that thrust New Zealand to the forefront of world tourism following the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Tourism New Zealand has launched a new campaign for the latest in the blockbusting franchise: The Hobbit.

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New Zealand experienced a monumentous upswing in tourism following the release of the original Lord of the Rings movies.

The record setting and Oscar-winning trilogy of films directed by Peter Jackson used New Zealand's breathtaking landscape as a backdrop to the mystical Middle Earth and catapulted the country into a worldwide destination.

International arrivals increased from under 1.5 million in 2000 prior to the first Lord of the Rings film, The Fellowship of the Ring's release in 2001 to almost 2.5 million by the time of the last in the series, The Return of the King.

And now, with the upcoming prequel movie An Unexpected Journey about to be released as the first in a new trilogy of films which will also include The Desolation of Smaug and There and Back Again, Tourism New Zealand is hoping to benefit once more.

"We aim to show potential travellers that the fantasy of Middle Earth is in fact the reality of New Zealand," said Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Kevin Bowler.

The surge in popularity from the last trilogy caught many tourism operators by surprise who were unprepared for the thousands of international tourists who poured into New Zealand to see locations from the film, but all will be prepared this time.

In order to get the ball rolling, a 2 metre long sculpture of one of the series' most famous characters Gollum has been suspended in Wellington Airport.

Tourism New Zealand has also changed its '100% Pure' brand to '100% Middle Earth', Middle Earth coins have been minted, Hobbit stamps have been issued and Wellington has dubbed itself 'The Middle of Middle Earth' for the film's premiere on 28 November.


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