Right Hobbiton welcome
After 13 years of attracting tourists to their movie set, Hobbiton has reached the millionth visitor milestone.
Die-hard fan Don McCormack, from Southern California, was welcomed to Hobbiton recently and showered with gifts by the set’s general manager Russell Alexander. McCormack was given an exact replica of the Trilogies’ emblematic ‘‘ The One Ring,’’ made in Nelson, along with a bottle of the Green Dragon’s finest ale. ‘‘It was really unexpected,’’ McCormack said. ‘‘ We were coming just to enjoy the set, and we are excited about being the one millionth visitor. We’re die-hard fans; when the latest movie came out we had to wait in line to get tickets to go see it.’’
McCormack and his wife Jennifer have been enjoying a trip around the North Island of New Zealand, and said Hobbiton was ‘‘unbelievably beautiful’’.
‘‘I can’t believe how much detail there is, it’s unbelievable. I’m amazed that everything around it is all real.
‘‘ This little piece of Middleearth is amazing, and I’m really looking forward to seeing the rest of it.’’
arrivals data for year ending February 2015 show holiday arrivals into New Zealand are up 7.8 per cent year on year.
For the period January to December 2014, just over 100,000 international visitors said that The Hobbit Trilogy was a factor in influencing their initial interest in New Zealand.
The site for the Hobbit movies was found by a location scout in 1998.
The first tours of the movie set started in December 2002. The set was then rebuilt out of permanent materials from 2009 to 2011 for The Hobbit Trilogy.