Tolkien Tourism In Matamata
The Lord of the Rings franchise is partially responsible for a tourism windfall in New Zealand with global visitor numbers up 40 per cent since 2000. At least five official LOTR-themed tour companies are in operation. And The Lord of the Rings Location Guidebook has sold 500,000 copies, making it one of the country’s best-selling non-fiction titles. Most important, perhaps, outsiders’ perceptions of the country changed. “It’s not just about sheep anymore,” chief executive of Film New Zealand Gisella Carr says. “A movie was able to shift the way people thought about New Zealand. And that’s remarkable.” This country does possess a fantastical Middle-earth-like quality. With its rugged mountains, glacial valleys, bubbling geysers and giant fern trees, it exudes a primeval quality. And yes, the 30 million or so sheep vastly outnumber the 4.4 million residents.