According to the Associated Press, New Zealand recently saw a record number of 3.4 million visitors in a year, and 16 percent of those tourists say that they visited after being inspired by Lord of the Rings. The country is particularly popular with tourists from Australia, China, and the U.S.
According to Statistics New Zealand, visitors are also spending more money in New Zealand than ever before. Foreign spending saw a 20 percent increase which has made a significant impact on the economy.
One tourist spot that is very popular with The Lord of the Rings fans, is the hobbit holes in Matamata, where the movie shot Bilbo and Frodo’s home of the Shire.
There’s also a 12-day mountain biking tour called Storm the South Island, which takes tourists by some of the sites from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
This jump in tourism actually beat out the country’s former money maker–the dairy industry. The slump in dairy occurred around the same time as the increase in tourism. They might expect even more visitors, since Lonely Planet just named the quite unknown Taranaki region, as a place to visit in 2017.