Tourism New Zealand Delighted at Hobbit Decision

Filming of The Hobbit will go ahead in New Zealand after high-profile negotiations between Prime Minister and Tourism Minister John Key and executives from US studio Warner Bros.

Hobbiton, near Matamata, is one of many tourist sites that will benefit from news that The Hobbit will be filmed in New Zealand.

Executives from the studio flew to New Zealand for negotiations with government on 27 October and, in good news for tourism and the film industry, have now agreed to keep the two proposed Hobbit movies in New Zealand.

General Manager Public Affairs Suzanne Carter said it was great news for New Zealand and New Zealand's tourism industry that The Hobbit would be filmed here.

"We are absolutely thrilled with the outcome of these negotiations. The Hobbit provides us with another great opportunity to promote New Zealand to the world in a unique way and to raise awareness of New Zealand as a visitor destination.

"The Lord of the Rings films presented New Zealand to the world in a truly spectacular way. From a tourism perspective the flow on effects of these films reach communities across the country with visitors coming to enjoy our unique scenery and lifestyle and using our tourism services as they travel.

"People are still travelling to New Zealand today because of the exposure gained throughThe Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit will provide another much-needed boost to our billion dollar tourism industry."

The two proposed Hobbit films will be prequels to Peter Jackson's highly successful trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, which premiered in New Zealand in 2001, 2002 and 2003. All three Lord of the Rings films were filmed in New Zealand.

Figures out in late October show that in the year to March 2010, tourism was New Zealand's biggest foreign money earner, outstripping the dairy sector as New Zealand's top export earner worth $9.5 billion.

"As with The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Tourism New Zealand will be looking at every opportunity to leverage the profile of The Hobbit to promote New Zealand," Suzanne Carter said.