Hobbit to target tourists

GRANT BRYANT IN QUEENSTOWN
Last updated 14:25 20/06/2012
Kevin Bowler
GRANT BRYANT/Fairfax NZ
Tourism New Zealand chief executive officer Kevin Bowler, speaking in Queenstown this morning, reveals some Hobbit-related spin-offs that are usually kept under tight wraps.

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The DVD package of the first Hobbit film, to be released mid-2013 will have an embedded New Zealand tourism feature directed by Peter Jackson, Tourism New Zealand boss Kevin Bowler revealed in Queenstown today.

Speaking to delegates at the Holiday Parks Association of New Zealand Conference held in the resort, Mr Bowler made a plethora of Hobbit-related details, usually kept under tight wraps, public.

Warner Bothers have said at least 300 journalists will descend on Wellington for the late November premier of the film's first instalment, An Unexpected Journey, Mr Bowler said.

To put that number into perspective, Tourism New Zealand usually brought 400 journalists into the country each year, which generated a huge amount of invaluable international press.

The national tourism marketing body had also conducted extensive offshore research into how to best capitalise on the latest duo of films starring the New Zealand landscape as Middle Earth.

"Internationally, we really want people to make the connection the The Hobbit films were filmed here in New Zealand,'' Mr Bowler said.

"Our research has found that there is a very high level of awareness to that fact, which is much broader than in what might be called... the geeky community.''

In 2004 Tourism New Zealand surveys showed 6 per cent of international arrivals to New Zealand said the Lord of the Rings trilogy of films was part of the reason they had come to the country, Mr Bowler said.

"If that was to happen next year, we'd have 150,000 people floating around the country because of the first Hobbit film, which is great.''

Tourism New Zealand also managed to narrow down the per centage of international die-hard Lord of the Rings fans who came here specifically because of the films in 2004, which was 1 per cent of overall arrivals.

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- The Southland Times

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