Gollum . . . Helping lure precious visitors. REUTERS/Warner
The Hobbit trilogy is already being credited with a big
boost to New Zealand tourism with flight bookings jumping
significantly as fans flock here for a taste of Middle-earth.
A farm near Matamata in Waikato and parts of the Wellington
region have become Hobbit tourist attractions, and fans from
around the world and coming in their droves to see the
backdrop to the films.
Flight bookings to New Zealand through online travel site
Expedia have increased 84 per cent, up 50 per cent compared
to the same month last year, the Daily Mail reported.
Another search engine, Skyscanner, revealed similar interest,
with bookings on flights to Wellington up 117 per cent
compared to December last year.
Air New Zealand was benefiting from the film, even before its
The airline paid for the rights to be the "official airline
Bookings for the airline from the United States almost
doubled the day before last month's Wellington premiere of
the first film in the trilogy and were up by a third in Japan
following a Hobbit promotion.
Tourism New Zealand is spending $10 million promoting The
Stars of the film including Australian actress Cate Blanchett
attended the London premiere on Wednesday.