While Wellington is worth a visit at anytime of the year, the 28th of November, 2012 will be of particular note. For this is when New Zealand’s capital once again becomes Wellywood for the world premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.
Positively Wellington Tourism (PWT) Chief Executive David Perks says the city’s hotels are quickly filling up on the date of and surrounding the premiere and recommends fans act quickly if they wish to secure a spot.
“There is going to be a simply unmissable buzz pulsing through the coolest little capital in the world around the world premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in November. Now that the date has been announced we recommend fans get booking their flights, tours and accommodation immediately to avoid disappointment.”
Thousands of fans are expected to descend into the central city to welcome and celebrate the film’s stars, crew and international press on Wednesday 28 November, but the opportunity for Wellington is well beyond the premiere date.
“The legacy of the world premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will last years, if not decades beyond Wednesday 28 November for both Wellington and New Zealand,” Mr Perks says. “It’s yet another incredible chance to showcase our city, hospitality and innovation to the world. As we’ve seen from our experience with The Lord of the Rings, the awareness and interest films of this type and scale drive has the ability to significantly increase international visitation.”
While you can’t tangibly forecast the number of visitors or dollars The Hobbit films will draw to Wellington, you can look at the transformation of the city and its $2200 a minute tourism industry that has occurred since the release of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Mr Perks says.
“Wellington was dubbed a ‘city on the rise’ by Lonely Planet in 2007, then rose to the challenge and earned an upgrade to the ‘coolest little capital in the world’ and 4th top city in the world to visit for the publisher’s Best in Travel 2011. The film industry has played a lead role in both that transformation and international acclaim.”
International visitor arrivals into Wellington increased 50% in the decade from 2001 (the year of the first Lord of the Rings release) to 2010; American arrivals increased 54% across that period.
“Film tours are still in high demand in Wellington over a decade on from the release of the last of the trilogy. Thanks to the world premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in November this can certainly be expected to continue well into the future.”