The release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey played no small part in the dramatic increase in New Zealand’s tourist numbers. International visitors for March 2013 were up 13% from March 2012.
Population statistics project manager Susan Hollows explained, “The latest figure was the highest ever recorded for a March month, easily surpassing the previous high of 250,800 arrivals in March 2008.”
Tourism New Zealand chief executive Kevin Bowler says there have been strong arrivals from several target markets, including Australia, North America, the UK, and Germany. And while the English cricketers touring the country brought the Brits, the increase in North American visitors is chalked up to tourism and marketing campaigns centered around the release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
The statistics are even more impressive in light of the worst drought in five years that was affecting Matamata, which boasts the the idyllic home of The Hobbit‘s Bilbo Baggins, the Hobbiton Movie Set.
However, because of March’s big numbers, April’s figures are expected to be insignificant. But with two more Hobbit films to go, will next year’s numbers be even more impressive?