NZ tourism to be hit hard with ‘Hobbit’ film loss, fears expert

Wellington: New Zealand’s tourism would bear losses in millions if ‘Hobbit’ films are not filmed here, says a tourism expert.

Simon Milne of the Auckland University of Technology’s Tourism Research Institute said that while he believed losses to the country were "immeasurable", they would be significant.

"To lose an opportunity to plug in some major foreign dollars into the New Zealand economy would be devastating,” a news daily quoted him as saying.

The ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy created as many as 1500 jobs for actors and crew and up to 20,000 through catering, hospitality and transport contracts, he said.

“How do you measure the impact on our national brand? What kind of impact does the marketing of this movie have on just general consciousness about New Zealand and the fact that someone might go in and buy a bottle of New Zealand wine in a supermarket in France?”

"It’s not just about travelling to this country, it’s about our brand overseas," he said.

Statistics have also shown that one in 10 visitors admitted being influenced to come to New Zealand when ‘The Lord of the Rings’ was being filmed and released.