Recently New Zealand has become a favorite destination for Hollywood studios. Movies such as the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit have used generous amount of footage covering the stunning landscapes of New Zealand. According to the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) movies such as these have only strengthen the reputation of New Zealand as a country of stunning beauty and promoted Tourism New Zealand to a worldwide audience.
Martin Snedden, the Chief Executive of TIA has thus extended his support to the Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism John Key’s visit this week of Hollywood and their meetings with the top brass of the industry in an attempt to further promote New Zealand as a destination for future blockbusters. Mr. Snedden, while rubbishing all attempts to criticize this trip explained that it is imperative to have personal level relationships in an attempt to make New Zealand a favorite among film makers. He also explained that Hollywood blockbusters like the Lord or the Rings and the Hobbit have been successful in increasing the interest of prospective tourists around the world. This has also been the reason why there has been an increase of bookings; the ultimate winner being the tourism industry.
Interestingly, a survey made in 2004 after the release of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy revealed, that more than 1.9 million visitors to the country were aware that the films were shot at several locations in the country. What was even more intriguing was that out of that 1.9 Million, 6% revealed that the films were the primary reason of their visit. These 11,200 travelers, who were inspired by the Trilogy to come to New Zealand, spent an estimated $32.8 million during their stay.
More recently another such research carried out by Tourism New Zealand revealed that nearly 57% of the people who are considering a vacation in New Zealand are aware of the Hobbits trilogy. Out of them nearly 87% are aware that the films were shot in New Zealand.
Clearly establishing the Hollywood connection with the success of Tourism New Zealand, Mr. Snedden points out that they are but a small player in a market that is filled with larger, stronger and more established players. They have to compete against a number of destinations around the world. Unless they can cut a niche and let travelers know that they exist, it will be next to impossible to woo them. He also went on to add that small ventures like the Hobbiton Movie Set and the Farm Tours spinned off directly as an inspiration from the Hollywood blockbusters. These ventures bring more tourists to the local communities and help the local economy as well.
As such, if more and more Hollywood blockbusters are made in New Zealand, it is only going to be beneficial for Tourism New Zealand and the local communities as a whole.