The Nelson region of New Zealand was hit by terrible flooding last December, cutting short the filming of The Hobbit. The floods, the worst for 50 years, affected trading in what would usually be a busy period in the run-up to the holiday season. So it’s good to hear that providing accommodation for The Hobbit crew brought a boost to the economy of the area. The number of guest nights in the region was up 2.1 per cent on December 2010, which was ahead of the national average, reports the Nelson Mail.
Nelson Tasman Tourism chief executive Lynda Keene commented, “This is a good result in a month where we had the highest rainfall in the region in 50 years and floods impacted on the region’s trading over what would normally be a busy two-week period (Dec 14 to Dec 28). The filming of The Hobbit in December has probably helped the result and is indicative of the importance film tourism can have to a region.”
The film industry has done wonders for tourism in New Zealand and it is hoped The Hobbit will encourage a fresh influx of visitors. Already media such as USA Today are pushing New Zealand as a tourist destination rating filming locations such as Matamata (Hobbiton) and Queenstown’s lakes as must-sees reports The Dominion Post .
“As with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Tourism New Zealand will be looking at every opportunity to leverage the profile of The Hobbit to promote New Zealand,” said Suzanne Carter, the public affairs general manager for Tourism New Zealand, commenting that The Hobbit would provide a great opportunity to promote the country “in a unique way and to raise awareness of New Zealand as a visitor destination.”
If you’re thinking of visiting, why not come with us? Follow the link for more about the Middle-Earth Network New Zealand Tour.