In The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film adaptations directed by Peter Jackson, a Wellington native himself, more than 150 locations throughout New Zealand served as the setting for numerous scenes. New Zealand hosts the most diverse and enchanting landscapes that perfectly capture the world that J.R.R. Tolkien crafted in his books.
Because of the tremendous success of the films, New Zealand is now one of the top tourist destinations in the world. Tolkien Tourism is now a separate, self-sufficient tour package that highlights the fantastical landscapes of New Zealand and celebrates the imagination of J.R.R Tolkien.
An Economic Boost for Both Film and Tourism Industries
From 2000 to 2006, international visitor influx grew from 1.7 million to 2.4 million, attributed to the Tolkien fandom. According to a New York Times report, New Zealand subsidised the Lord of the Rings film trilogy with NZD 150 million.
Surely, the investment paid off because about 6% of tourists named the film trilogy as their main reason for visiting the country.
Up until now, there are 30 Tolkien Tour locations operating throughout the country. Unquestionably, Tolkien Tourism has created steady travel and tourism careers for locals. And after the release of three instalments of The Hobbit, Tolkien Tourism regained its glorious following.
Tourism takes up a considerably large portion of the nation’s economy. But, the film industry has provided the tourism sector a big marketing boost from an international level down to the regional.
Tolkien Tourism Now Embedded in the Kiwi Experience
Less popular places in New Zealand are now popular tourist attractions. Tourists and Tolkien geeks come to the rolling hills in the Waikato region to experience The Shire and tread the scenic trails of Tongariro Alpine Crossing to recreate Frodo and Sam’s journey to Mordor.
Specialised tour packages bring tourists to the back country of Canterbury, to the grassy hills of Edoras, the capital of the Rohan people.