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LOTRs Brings In Japanese Tourists

Lord Of The Rings Tourism Brings In Japan's First Group To NZ

Proof positive that The Lord of the Rings is a real tourism powerhouse for New Zealand is evidenced tomorrow with the arrival of the first large scale Lord of the Rings tour group from Japan.

The first 80 visitors in the 114-strong contingent - curiously 98% female - touch down tomorrow morning in Christchurch to begin a six-day itinerary which takes in top movie sites in Wellington, Tongariro and Matamata.

The second part of the group (34 visitors) arrive Saturday and will follow a similar itinerary, but also take in Rotorua.

The group were astonished to depart Tokyo on Air New Zealand's striking Lord of the Rings Boeing 747-400, emblazoned with the images of hobbits Frodo and Samwise Gamgee.

To demonstrate its support for this important first group from Japan, Air New Zealand juggled its international network to ensure this particular aircraft could operate the group's flight as a surprise.

Organised jointly with the Lord of the Rings local distributor Japan Herald Movie, the group has generated significant airfare sales for Air New Zealand.

Air New Zealand's Marketing Services Manager in Tokyo Mr Kei Nakai described the venture as "developing a new market, fascinated by New Zealand's role as Middle Earth."

He added: "Although Japan has not had the head-start of English-speaking countries in understanding Tolkein's world from his books, a passion for Lord of the Rings, fuelled by the motion picture trilogy, is building rapidly.

"We're looking to keep tapping into this emerging market and ensure New Zealand benefits as much as possible from the movie's huge profile - especially as we build towards the final part of the trilogy, 'Return of the King'."

Air New Zealand's Tokyo office is working to confirm further Lord of the Rings groups towards the end of this year.

© Scoop Media

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