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13 Feb 2014
Latest figures highlight the value of The Hobbit Trilogy to Wellington while reaffirming the city’s position as New Zealand’s film capital.
The 12 months following the world premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in November 2012 saw international holiday arrivals to Wellington increase by 7.5%.
Positively Wellington Tourism Chief Executive David Perks says across that time, there has been growing demand from travellers wanting to participate in a movie-themed experience.
"While much of Wellington’s role lies in production studios and digital effects, there are a number of ways visitors can experience the city’s world class film industry."
“While much of Wellington’s role lies in production studios and digital effects, there are a number of ways visitors can experience the city’s world class film industry.
“Our sights and activities are stars in their own right and tour operators such as Wellington Rover Tours, Wellington Movie Tours and Flat Earth New Zealand take visitors to filming locations both in and around the city, which often include a visit to the Weta Cave,” says Mr Perks.
In the last year, visitor numbers to the Weta Cave shop increased approximately 30% to 150,000, while the Weta Cave workshop tour, which opened in November 2012, welcomed 50,000 visitors in its first year.
Film tourism-related product sales at Wellington’s i-SITE Visitor Centre are up over $200,000, Mr Perks says.
“That’s an increase of 20% in the 12 months immediately following the world premiere of the Trilogy’s first installment.”
It’s not just the city experiencing increased demand; surrounding regions are also benefitting from the three-part fantasy epic.
Business is booming for Petone-based Stansborough Limited, who were first contracted to produce the Fellowship Cloaks and other fabric for The Lord of the Rings Trilogy in the 1990s.
Hutt City Council’s Visitor Development Manager James Lamb says the local weavers have launched seven new products following the release of The Hobbit films.
"Demand for all movie-related products has doubled, with sales continuing to grow worldwide."
“Demand for all movie-related products has doubled, with sales continuing to grow worldwide.”
Mr Perks says “the increase in international holiday arrivals and demand for movie-themed experiences and products shows just how much people are willing to travel from around the world to take location tours, buy artisan product, experience the magic of Weta, and see the films at Embassy Theatre.”
In the 12 months ending November 2013, Wellington’s regional tourism website saw over 42,000 visits to its Middle of Middle-earth and Hobbit themed pages.
"The films, the fans and the figures - it’s a blockbuster tale that’s got people wanting to learn more."
“What’s particularly exciting about those figures is that 71% of them were new visits, meaning we’re continuing to engage with and attract new audiences,” says Mr Perks.
Information about Wellington’s film locations were also popular, attracting over 48,000 visits.
“The films, the fans and the figures - it’s a blockbuster tale that’s got people wanting to learn more.”