Coat-tailing on the success of The Hobbit trilogy is paying off for Tourism New Zealand and it says it's a strategy that will feature heavily in the organisation's three-year plan for marketing the country to the rest of the world.
Tourism NZ launched its '100% Middle Earth' campaign late last year to coincide with the premiere of the first in Peter Jackson's The Hobbit movies. The campaign encompasses print, video and digital – including major works on the NewZealand.com website.
According to Tourism NZ's Active Considerer index, which monitors the opinions of travelers considering a trip to New Zealand, 82 percent of those surveyed in key markets say the links to the movie franchise and the 100% Middle Earth campaign have increased their interest in New Zealand.
In the US, a key market for the 100% Middle Earth campaign, 73 percent of respondents say the campaign improves their opinion of New Zealand.
Tourism NZ attributes a 10 percent increase in visitor numbers during the January – April period to the campaign, with a 23 percent bump in US visitor numbers.
Chief executive Kevin Bolwer says the success of the movie tie-in is the reason why The Hobbit will play a major part in Tourism NZ's three-year plan for its marketing activities. This includes significant events around the premieres of the next two films in the trilogy. A more detailed plan is being released to New Zealand businesses over the next few weeks and will be available for the general public after 11 June.
In the 2013 Budget the government set aside an additional $158 million towards tourism funding, of which Tourism NZ is to receive $29.5 million bringing its total allocation to $113 million for the 2013/14 year.
Tourism NZ says it intends to spend this money on the promotion of international business events, marketing in emerging markets, building a reputation as high-value premium travel and boosting activity in core markets.