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Bollywood star loving stay in Rotorua

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FUN: Sidharth Malhotra enjoys the riding the luge in Rotorua. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
FUN: Sidharth Malhotra enjoys the riding the luge in Rotorua. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Bollywood star Sidharth Malhotra has been busy exploring Rotorua over the last three days and absolutely loves the place.

Malhotra is an Indian actor and former model who appears in Bollywood films.

"It's been great. The luge was something new that we did yesterday. I keep thinking I should bring my family here, it's a great destination."

He also went ziplining with Rotorua Canopy Tours and said it was his favourite thing he had done in Rotorua.

"It was awesome and I also learned how much effort you put into preserving your forest, it's amazing.

"I find New Zealand people are extremely warm and welcoming."

Malhotra said even though this was only his second visit to New Zealand he felt like it was his second home.

"I visited New Zealand last year, and the experience stayed with me. Surrounded by such incredible natural beauty, coupled with exhilarating experiences - it makes for the perfect escape into a different world altogether.

"People must come here, New Zealand has everything."

He spent this morning at Te Puia and enjoyed a hangi for lunch. The Rotorua Daily Post caught up with him before he headed to Mitai Maori Village for a cultural experience and then Hobbiton tomorrow.

"I'm a big Lord of the Rings fan, as a follow director, it's just amazing so I'm looking forward to Hobbiton. It will be fantastic to see."

Malhotra said Richie McCaw had taken him for a ride in his helicopter and thrown a ball around on top of a mountain with him.

"And I'm only halfway through my trip!"

Destination Rotorua international trade manager Patrick Dault said Malhotra's visit was great for Rotorua as the Indian market was important.

"The influence that movie stars have on the population is huge, having him here creates awareness of a destination.

"We have yet to put ourselves on the map for Indian visitors and he gives us the break to get us there," Mr Dault said.

Malhotra will be in New Zealand until November 20, also visiting Auckland, Waikato and Canterbury.

During his eight-day visit to this country last year, 2.8 million people engaged with Malhotra via social media, including 57,000 people engaging with each of his Facebook posts.

Figures released last week showed a 23.8 per cent increase in holiday arrivals in the year to September, with 25,168 Indians visiting New Zealand.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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