Tourism expects lift from Hobbit factor

Hamilton and the Waikato region is poised to see an increase in global exposure and visitor numbers as movie magic grips the country.

As home to one of the most talked about visitor attractions of the year, the Hobbiton Movie Set, Hamilton and Waikato Tourism CEO Kiri Goulter says the area is now a must-visit destination in New Zealand, not only for LOTR fans but the general traveller as well. "We are very proud to have Hobbiton it in our own backyard.

"This is an unparalleled opportunity for the region on a national and international scale due to the global exposure which we expect will continue for some time.

"We are very excited for the team at Hobbiton Movie Set and their success also creates fantastic leveraging opportunities for the wider industry. As such, we will certainly be looking to encourage visitors coming to take a tour of the set to also include other Hamilton and Waikato experiences," she says General manager of Hobbiton Movie Set Tours Russell Alexander anticipates around 150,000 visitors will see the Set within the next year.

However, Ms Goulter says it's not only the Hobbiton Movie Set that will benefit from the increase in visitors.

"Having one of the premier attractions located here means the entire region is set to benefit over the coming months and years as visitor dollars will be spent with tourism businesses as well as the wider community including retail, hospitality and other services such as supermarkets and petrol stations."

The International Visitor Survey from 2004, after the release of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, found that 6 per cent of visitors to New Zealand named it as being one of the main reasons for visiting New Zealand.

It also revealed the estimated expenditure of the one per cent who visited 'mainly or only' because of The Lord of the Rings was approximately $32.8 million.

- Hamilton News

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