Lord of the Rings Hobbiton Set Helps New Zealand Log 7.3% Growth in Tourist Arrival to 2.77 Million

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By Vittorio Hernandez | March 31, 2014 10:37 AM EST

Welcome sign of Hobbiton movie set
Welcome sign of Hobbiton movie set

As of February 2014,  2.77 million tourists have visited New Zealand in the past 12 months, logging a 7.3 per cent growth, according to Tourism New Zealand.

The industry has a lot to thank the movie series Lord of the Rings, which was mainly shot in the country because a substantial number of the visitors came to see the movie set which features the hobbit houses where Middle Earth is supposed to be located.

Associate Tourism Minister Todd McClay said that arrival growth actually went beyond what would have naturally occurred due to the extensive marketing effort to promote The Hobbit and New Zealand as Middle Earth.

Mr McClay disclosed that at the height of the Lord of the Rings mania, 6 per cent of visitors said the film was a major factor in their decision to see New Zealand, which doubled and went up to 12 per cent in 2013. The number further increased to 14 per cent, according to the latest International Visitor Survey.

A New Zealand Institute of Economic Research report said market effectiveness was the likely key driver of visitor growth which cannot be attributed to global growth, air capacity or chance.

New Zealand also just launched Tourism 2025 that targets to boost the contribution of tourism to the country's economy to $41 billion from $24 billion within the next 11 years.

There are two key locations where visitors could enjoy the Lord of the Rings set.

One is Hobbiton, about two hours drive away from Auckland, the financial capital of New Zealand. What could be found here are hobbit houses.

Here are some snaps of the hobbit village.

A hobbit house
A hobbit house
A hobbit house
A hobbit house
A hobbit house
A hobbit house

The other one is the Weta studio in Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand, which features the models of some of the key characters in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

One of the key characters in the movie Lord of the Rings
One of the key characters in the movie Lord of the Rings

The last installment of the trilogy titled The Hobbit: There and Back Again is scheduled for release worldwide in December 2014.

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(Photo: Vittorio Hernandez / )
Welcome sign of Hobbiton movie set
(Photo: Vittorio Hernandez / )
A hobbit house
(Photo: Vittorio Hernandez / )
A hobbit house
(Photo: Vittorio Hernandez / )
A hobbit house
(Photo: Vittorio Hernandez / )
One of the key characters in the movie Lord of the Rings
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