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Surge In Us Tourists Proof Positive Of Power Of

Surge In Us Tourists Proof Positive Of Power Of The Ring

Air New Zealand’s The Lord of the Rings motion picture themed aircraft are taking Middle-earth tourism promotion to new heights around the globe as The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers fever continues to grow.

While the US and European markets launched the second film of the movie picture trilogy in December, key markets such as Japan where The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring motion picture has assumed almost cult status are still awaiting the release of The Two Towers.

Meanwhile in New Zealand, tourism operators are reaping the rewards of earlier investment in Middle-earth promotion and eagerly anticipating the impact that high profile initiatives such as Air New Zealand’s flying billboards will have on tourism growth. New Zealand tourism industry chiefs believe a sharp upturn in tourists from key markets such as the US in the past few months is directly attributable to identification with New Zealand as the backdrop to the motion picture trilogy.

Statistics New Zealand figures point to a 13.1% increase in US visitor arrivals for October, followed by 24.5% increase for November . These figures compare with a 19.6% decline for October 2001 and a 13.3% decline for November 2001. The first week of December shows a 31.5% increase on the same week, a year before.

Chairman of the Tourism Research Council Sean Murray, explained: “New Zealand’s overall tourism profile is stronger than ever right now, but market feedback suggests the huge hype from The Lord of the Rings is the major driver of such large visitor increases from key markets like the US. He is also the General Manager of Tourism Holdings Limited, New Zealand’s largest tourism wholesaler

“Without any authoritative research on which to base this, I believe The Lord of the Rings is proving a tremendously powerful catalyst in prompting travellers who’ve thought about visiting New Zealand to make that final decision. It’s tapping into the latent desire to travel here and drawing those people towards New Zealand.

“In that context, Air New Zealand’s The Lord of the Rings-themed planes are adding enormous value to the concerted industry effort to promote Middle-earth. These aircraft have huge impact – a really high profile way of getting the message across,” Mr Murray added.

“Even taking into account the fall-off in 2001 visitor arrivals in the months immediately after September 11, the upswing for the comparative months a year later demonstrates a stronger than expected bounceback,” he said. “Taking the broader view, the year to November 30, 2002 ended 7.2% up for US arrivals. Taking into account the impact of September 11 that’s a remarkably strong recovery.”

The Lord of the Rings, and the names of the characters, events, items and places therein, are trademarks of The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Tolkien Enterprises under license to New Line Productions, Inc. All rights reserved.

Aragorn And Arwen – A Timeless Love Story

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, second in the trilogy of motion pictures, features some of the most exciting battle scenes ever to be filmed. Audiences world-wide are also responding to the compelling love story between brave warrior Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) and Elf Princess Arwen (Liv Tyler).

The timeless story began in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring where the couple pledged their love for each other. It becomes more complicated in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers where Arwen must choose between her love for the human Aragorn and her loyalty to her own Elven kind. Their love is tested when Aragorn meets the beautiful Eowen (Miranda Otto).

Cast Biographies:

Viggo Mortensen is Aragorn - A brave warrior who joins and defends The Fellowship
Since his debut as a young Amish Farmer in Peter Weir's Witness, Viggo Mortensen's career has been marked by a steady string of well-rounded performances. Critics have continually recognised his work in over thirty movies, including such diverse projects as Jane Campion's Portrait of a Lady, Sean Penn's Indian Runner, Brian DePalma's Carlito's Way, Ridley Scott's G.I. Jane and Tony Goldwyn's A Walk on the Moon. Mortensen's latest work is playing Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings motion picture trilogy. The first film in the trilogy, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, has generated not only box office receipts, but critical acclaim as well. Born in New York to a Danish father and an American mother, Mortensen spent the early part of his childhood in Manhattan. His family travelled a great deal and he spent several years living in Venezuela, Argentina, and Denmark. He began acting in New York, studying with Warren Robertson. He appeared in several plays and movies, and eventually moved to Los Angeles, where his performance in "Bent" at the Coast Playhouse earned him a Drama-logue Critic's Award. Mortensen is also an accomplished poet, photographer, and painter. He is currently working on his third book of poetry, and his latest showing of new photographs and paintings was during March 2002 at Track 16 Gallery in Los Angeles, as well as at the Deste Foundation for Contemporary Art in Athens. His most recent showing opened on July 11, 2002, at the Robert Mann Gallery in New York. Mortensen is currently starring in Hidalgo for Disney, which is due for release July, 2003.

Liv Tyler is Arwen - the Elf princess who falls in love with Aragorn
Liv Tyler made an auspicious film debut with the leading role in Silent Fall, directed by Bruce Beresford. After another lead in Empire Records, Tyler portrayed a waitress in a local diner in Heavy, a favourite at the 1995 Sundance Film Festival. Tyler went on to shine in Bernardo Bertolucci's Stealing Beauty, Inventing The Abbotts, Armageddon, and Robert Altman's Cookie's Fortune. She recently reunited with Altman to star in the critically acclaimed Dr. T and the Women with Richard Gere. For her role in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, Tyler and the rest of the principal cast were nominated for Outstanding Performance by the Cast of a Theatrical Motion Picture by the Screen Actors Guild. Tyler's other recent work includes Onegin co-starring Ralph Fiennes, Plunkett & Macleane, and One Night at McCool's opposite Matt Dillon. Tyler is currently in production on Kevin Smith's next film, Jersey Girl, in which she will star opposite Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck. Miramax will release the film sometime next year.

The Lord of the Rings, and the names of the characters, events, items and places therein, are trademarks of The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Tolkien Enterprises under license to New Line Productions, Inc. All rights reserved.

Aircraft Images Grab Media Interest Around The World

Air New Zealand’s “Frodo” themed 747 has captured the interest of key international media as it flies the airline’s flagship route between Auckland, Los Angeles and London.

One of America’s top talk-show hosts described the Frodo themed plane as “unbeatable,” while the flagship show Entertainment Tonight, with an audience of 12 million, covered the launch of the Boeing 747-400 to the American media at Los Angeles International Airport.

Reporters from the Fox News Channel, Californian TV channel KTLA, LA Daily News, Associated Press, CBS Radio and 21 photographers also attended the plane’s American debut.

Top late night talk show host Conan O’Brien on America’s NBC network joked with Hobbit actor Sean Astin about what it felt like to have his face painted on the side of a jumbo comparing it to the image of “Shamu” – the killer whale icon which has been painted on the side of Southwest Airlines aircraft for many years.

The Washington Times carried a major article about the impact of The Lord of the Rings motion picture trilogy and the flying billboard initiative from Air New Zealand, while a New York Daily News travel feature highlighted The Lord of the Rings photography locations in New Zealand and encouraged tourists to fly Air New Zealand as part of their travel experience.

In the UK, the “Frodo” themed aircraft was pictured in the Daily Star (readership almost 1.5 million) , the Scottish Daily Record (readership 1.6 million) and also picked up by Press Association for distribution to newspapers throughout Britain.

Conde Nast Traveller magazine, one of the world’s most glamorous travel publications, also featured a major spread on Lord of the Rings.

Second The Lord Of The Rings Themed Aircraft Takes Flight…

Air New Zealand today unveiled the second of it’s The Lord of the Rings themed flying billboards - a Boeing 767-300 depicting the epic love story of key characters Aragorn and Arwen.

The aircraft shows the lovers, played by Viggo Mortensen and Liv Tyler, set against the stunning backdrop of the Remarkables near Queenstown.

The imagery powerfully evokes not just the love story between the brave warrior Aragorn and the Elven princess but also the dramatic Middle-earth landscapes which are at the core of the motion picture trilogy.

Spearheading an ambitious two-year campaign to promote Air New Zealand as the “Airline to Middle-earth”, the aircraft pairing will carry their tourism message to almost every corner of the airline’s international network.

Since the “Frodo” themed aircraft was unveiled on December 13 last year, it has already flown more than 300,000 kilometres and visited the world's movie capital Los Angeles about 20 times. The plane has also been seen several times at Heathrow as well as in Sydney and Japan. And all of this at a time when The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers has been the hottest box office act in the industry.

The “Aragorn” themed aircraft will fly primarily Pacific Rim routes - Australia, Asia and the Pacific Islands - dovetailing with the London and Los Angeles routes that the first “Frodo” themed plane (a Boeing 747-400 unveiled last month) will fly.

Air New Zealand Chief Operating Officer Andrew Miller commented: “As a flying billboard to promote New Zealand tourism, this is as powerful as it gets.

“This pair of aircraft represent a significant investment by Air New Zealand - not only in the cost of creating and applying these images - but also in wide-ranging marketing deal with New Line Cinema which is the bedrock of all our Middle-earth promotional work in markets around the world.

“We see the harnessing of the motion picture trilogy’s appeal as a strategically smart move - one which we believe is already driving strong forward bookings from the US and European markets as the appeal of Middle-earth takes hold.”

While Viggo Mortensen and Liv Tyler have yet to see the “Aragorn” aircraft, Elijah Wood actually flew into New Zealand for the Wellington premiere of the motion picture on Frodo themed aircraft. He was reported as saying: “It’s been one of the best days of my life - starting with arriving in New Zealand this morning onboard a plane with my face on the side of it!”

In its first month, the “Aragorn” themed aircraft will fly to Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Osaka, Taipei, Los Angeles, Tahiti, Fiji, Perth and Rarotonga -spreading the Middle-earth tourism message around the Pacific Rim.

Its arrival into airports around Asia will be leveraged by Air New Zealand, especially in Japan where the aircraft will be a media focal point when The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers opens there in March.

A Giant-Sized Jigsaw Puzzle

The numbers tell a story of their own as the “Airline to Middle-earth” rolls out a second Boeing aircraft emblazoned with imagery from The Lord of the Rings. Motion picture trilogy.

When Hobbits Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee were transposed from the cinema screen onto the fuselage of an Air New Zealand Boeing 747-400 on 13 December 2002, they gave The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers lofty exposure at a cruising altitude of 35,000ft.

Now a little more than a month later, two more characters from the second movie in the trilogy – Aragorn and Arwen – are making a giant-sized appearance on the sides of an Air New Zealand Boeing 767.

The canvas for the artists is slightly reduced from the “Frodo” themed plane but the statistics are still compelling.

Where the “painting” on the 747 covers a total area of 600 square metres on both sides of the plane, the smaller 767 sports a likeness which is a slightly more modest 320 square metres overall.

The image is generated in the form of a monster-sized decal cut into dozens of smaller panels – each about 1.2m by 2m in size – to create a giant jigsaw.

New Zealand company Admark Visual Imaging is an expert in the field of putting these huge images together but the exercise is still time-intensive.

The “Frodo” themed decal, made up of 120-odd pieces for each side of the aircraft, teased a team of 12 for 33 hours before the end product was revealed for the world to see.

The new arrival hasn’t been any easier. With 78 panels per side, it has consumed 11 operators for 25 hours. The process was further complicated because the team worked from cherry pickers rather than scaffolding towers.

Although the aircraft marking film used – it’s a 3M product – is barely thicker than cling film, the sheer size of the image means the decals are weighty. For the first plane the decal weighed 60 kilograms; for the 767 the weight of the smaller image is down to 34 kilograms.

The specialist film is perforated to allow for pressurisation changes in the aircraft and is designed to withstand speeds of up to 1000 kilometres an hour.

Auckland company Designworks was hired by Air New Zealand to produce the design concept, which was a challenge in itself.

Account director Karen Jones explained: “It was vital to emphasise the strong associations with New Zealand. We were seeking to use the airline’s relationship with The Lord of the Rings motion picture to promote New Zealand as a desirable visitor destination. It was also important that we try to bring the excitement of the movie to life, yet retain the story’s integrity in the design.

“We developed three design directions – a themed character, a themed culture and a themed place. The characters, arguably, have the greatest appeal and were therefore used most prominently. They also have the strongest symbolism.”

Designworks has also been enlisted to create two more images from The Lord of the Rings movies to appear on Air New Zealand aircraft later this year.

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