Film Tourism

Tourism New Zealand works alongside the New Zealand Film Commission and Film New Zealand to capitalise on opportunities generated by films made here, to promote New Zealand as an exceptional travel destination. 

When films are produced in New Zealand it provides an opportunity for Tourism New Zealand to gain access to quality content, marketing opportunities and high impact media channels to promote New Zealand as a tourism destination.

The Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies have had huge appeal and attract thousands of visitors annually.

For instance, the International Visitor survey in showed that 16 percent of international visitors in 2015 cited The Hobbit Trilogy as the initial reason they considered a trip to New Zealand.

Film incentives 

In April 2014 the New Zealand Screen Production Grant was introduced, by which international productions can access a 20% baseline grant. A further 5% is available for those that demonstrate wider economic benefits to New Zealand. Marketing, promoting and showcasing New Zealand as a tourism destination is part of the assessment criteria for wider benefits. The grant is managed by the New Zealand Film Commission, more information can be found here.

Hobbiton movie set and tours, Matamata

Case study

New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth

Tourism New Zealand has successfully marketed New Zealand as the home of Middle-earth for the past 15 years.

The 100% Pure Middle-earth, 100% Pure New Zealand marketing strategy focused on converting the international attention New Zealand drew from starring in The Hobbit Trilogy, into travel.

Tourism New Zealand’s work through both marketing and PR was designed to demonstrate how easy it is for people to come to New Zealand, experience Middle-earth’s stunning landscapes, embracing people and unique activities.

Tourism New Zealand worked in partnership with Warner Bros. Pictures to leverage The Hobbit Trilogy. This included PR activities prior to, during and after each film’s premiere. 

Supporting activity included:

  • Tourism New Zealand hosted world-class international media outlets such as China- CCTV- (6.3m viewers), TF1 France (3.8m viewers) and Sky Movies UK (10.7m viewers) at real Middle-earth locations and experiences.

  • International media were provided with real Middle-earth destination content such as footage, imagery and written content.

  • Tourism New Zealand had a strong involvement with the movies' international world premieres including a presence on the red carpet, and food and wine events in uniquely New Zealand settings such as The Book of New Zealand and a real Hobbit Hole at Claridge’s Hotel in London.

  • Middle-earth provided access to high profile celebrities with influence. This included cast from the movie as well as other celebrities with an interest in Middle-earth such as actress Yao Chen from China whose visit generated 34,697 stories. 

  • Three Middle-earth TVCs which showed tourists the real locations and experiences they can enjoy in New Zealand - the real Middle-earth.

  • Three 'New Zealand Home of Middle-earth' DVD featurettes with cast endorsements including their own personal experiences filming and exploring the real Middle-earth New Zealand.

  • A Middle-earth hub  on consumer website providing consumers with interactive digital content on Middle-earth locations and experiences

Hobbiton movie set and tours, Matamata

Association with films such as The Hobbit Trilogy also offers New Zealand a wider opportunity to work in with New Zealand Inc. to enhance its international profile as an innovative and creative nation, and as a great place to make films and do business.

Research completed by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research has found that the marketing of New Zealand as Middle-earth has had a significant and quantifiable impact on growth in visitor arrivals from Western markets. Read more here.