'Hobbit' release spurs visitor preparations

A sightseeing plane flies near Lake Quill and the Sutherland Falls in Fiordland. Photo supplied.
A sightseeing plane flies near Lake Quill and the Sutherland Falls in Fiordland. Photo supplied.
Just a minute is enough to get Fiordland tourism promoters excited.

A summit near Lake Dale, and the Sutherland Falls, both near Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park, featured in the final minute of Sir Peter Jackson's first Hobbit movie, and Destination Fiordland and tourism operators are gearing up for an influx of visitors because of it.

It was anticipated the fleeting glimpse of Fiordland would bring Hobbit-specific tourism to the region earlier than previously thought, Destination Fiordland manager Kate Hebblethwaite said.

It was also hoped more of Fiordland would be seen in the second movie and that would produce a stream of visitors, she said.

''We won't know for sure how much of Fiordland features until the [second] movie comes out, as the locations are a closely guarded secret. But operators are aware of the likelihood and are thinking of ways they can leverage off the publicity.''

The first film in the trilogy, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, was released in December.

Tourism New Zealand is spending $10 million promoting The Hobbit trilogy.

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