The Hobbit is driving a large surge in tourism with almost one in 10 people saying thy are coming here because of The Hobbit.
Helen Kelly and the rest of her union Hobbit haters along with the Labour party wanted to spike this deal. THey still go on and on about it in parliament and in the media any chance they get. They use The Hobbit as a crutch to support their contention that John Key is into crony capitalism.
This is what the deal is delivering us:
It’s not just Bilbo journeying there and back again through Middle-earth – almost one in 10 international visitors are here for the same reason.
Tourism New Zealand figures published yesterday show overseas tourist arrivals were up 10 per cent from 2012 for the first four months of the year.
Of the one million international visitors in those months, 8.5 per cent said The Hobbit was a factor in their choice.
For one in eight tourists, a Middle-earth experience, such as visiting Hobbiton, near Matamata, was high on the to-do list.
Hobbiton manager Russell Alexander said the film set was “at the coalface” of the tourist boom, with January-March visitor numbers almost double the previous year’s. “It’s been a fantastic summer.”
All of those visitors have to stay somewhere, eat somewhere, be transported somewhere and do other things while they are here.
With the release of the second Hobbit movie, The Desolation of Smaug, six months away, the boom looked here to stay, he said.
As the “middle of Middle-earth”, Wellington was also enjoying the tourist surge. Wellington Rover Tours’ Lord of the Rings trips were so popular this summer that people were turned away every day, guide Nathan Clear said. “We were looking at least 20 or 30 per cent up.”
The continuing production and filming of the trilogy – a final 10-week shoot started in May – was also bringing in tourists.
“What you’re getting now is a lot more general interest, rather than the big fans. Now you’ll get people who’ve not seen the films, where friends or family members demand they do a tour because they couldn’t come.”
Weta Workshop, a popular stop on any Hobbit tour, is expecting an extra 40,000 people through its doors this year. “Middle-earth is popular in Europe, America, Asia, Latin America, Africa – it really has a global popularity,” manager Tim Launder said.
Next month, Weta will collaborate with Tourism NZ at San Diego’s Comic-Con to attract future Middle-earth travellers.
“New Zealand already has a wonderful image – [The Hobbit] pushes them over the line.”
Prime Minister John Key said the latest figures were “further vindication” of the Government’s efforts to keep the filming of The Hobbit trilogy in New Zealand.
Vindication? You bet, well worth the effort of a little law change to stop unions trying to bleed the producers pockets dry.