The call of the Ring

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

The Hob­bit tril­ogy of movies has had a big im­pact on tourist spend­ing in one North Is­land re­gion, new fig­ures sug­gest.

The Min­istry of Business, In­no­va­tion and Em­ploy­ment (MBIE) es­ti­mates in­ter­na­tional spend­ing in the Mata­mataPi­ako dis­trict, the home of Hob­biton, more than tripled from $11 mil­lion in 2009 to $37m for the year to March 2014.

Mata­mata- Pi­ako dis­trict mayor Jan Barnes said the fig­ure was ‘‘fan­tas­tic’’.

She said Mata­mata-Pi­ako was in the tourism tri­an­gle, with peo­ple com­ing to visit Hob­biton and trav­el­ling through to Roto- rua or the Wait­omo Caves.

She ac­knowl­edged the huge num­ber of tourists through the area also caused chal­lenges with traf­fic but said it was an ‘‘ex­cit­ing is­sue to have’’.

Peter El­lis, MBIE’s sec­tor per­for­mance man­ager said the strong growth in tourist spend, il­lus­trated the im­por­tance of Hob­bit- re­lated attractions for tourism in the area.

MBIE also es­ti­mated spend­ing by in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors through­out New Zealand rose by $600m, or 8 per cent, to $7.2 bil­lion in the year to March. The fig­ures ex­clude spend­ing on ed­u­ca­tion and air travel.

Do­mes­tic tourists spent an es­ti­mated $10.1b, up $320m or 3 per cent from last year.

Auck­land con­tin­ues to be the dom­i­nant des­ti­na­tion for both in­ter­na­tional and do­mes­tic vis­i­tors, at­tract­ing 38 per cent of in­ter­na­tional spend­ing and 21 per cent of do­mes­tic spend­ing in New Zealand.

Another area of growth is the Queen­stown- Lakes dis­trict, where in­ter­na­tional spend­ing has in­creased from $860m to $1.1b in the 2009 to 2014 pe­riod. The Queen­stown-Lakes dis­trict holds a 16 per cent share of in­ter­na­tional spend­ing in New Zealand.

Fair­fax NZ

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