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James Nesbitt’s New Zealand showcase to screen on Prime

James Nesbitt’s New Zealand showcase to screen on Prime

This weekend, Kiwis will have the chance to see what 1.5 million UK viewers enjoyed on Christmas Day – Hobbit star James Nesbitt’s documentary on New Zealand.

The one-hour show, titled River Deep; Mountain High, screens on Prime on Sunday 12 April at 8.30pm.

It was originally broadcast in the UK on ITV at 2:00pm on Christmas Day 2013, before screening a second time an hour later on ITV+1.

The production was supported by Tourism New Zealand’s International Media Programme, which coordinated James’ itinerary with Regional Tourism Organisations and provided on-the-ground support for the production.

It is dedicated entirely to New Zealand and follows James as he journeyed north to south, taking in some of the country’s most unique landscapes and tourism experiences along the way. The actor's travel took him from Auckland to Wanaka, visiting Waitomo; Rotorua; Wellington; Nelson; Christchurch and Central Otago.

Tourism New Zealand’s Director of Trade, PR and Major Events Justin Watson says visitor arrivals from the UK are back in growth and the organisation’s marketing work is paying off.

For the year ending February 2014, total UK arrivals are up 5.4 per cent and holiday arrivals are up 16.2 per cent.

“James Nesbitt is hugely popular given his connection to The Hobbit trilogy and having him film this travel programme here was a huge coup for us,” says Justin.

“We know that the endorsement of others remains one of the most influential factors in helping people make travel decisions and when endorsement comes from popular and appealing celebrities, the impact is even stronger.”

This week around 130 international media are following the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their tour of New Zealand.

“The media coverage of the Royal visit and the associated stories of New Zealand and our attractions will further cement the profile we are enjoying in the UK right now.”

The screening here of James Nesbitt’s documentary comes just two weeks after the release of research that showed New Zealand’s association with Middle-earth was having a significant impact on increasing visitor arrivals.

The research completed by NZIER shows that in 2013 New Zealand attracted more international visitors from its core long-haul Western visitor markets than economic factors alone could account for.

Justin says “the research fund that a significant portion of the growth can reasonably be attributed to our tourism marketing and our association with Middle-earth is a key part of this.

“This finding is backed up by other evidence. In the Oct-Dec 2013 International Visitor Survey (IVS) 14 per cent of holiday arrivals said The Hobbit trilogy was a factor that influenced their decision to visit New Zealand.

“A decade ago, following the release of the final film in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, that influence figure was six per cent.”

Tourism New Zealand will continue to leverage its association with Middle-earth through the release of the third and final film in the trilogy, in December 2014.


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