New Zealand Capital To Change Its Name In honour Of 'The Hobbit'

The hobbit tourism

Photo: alexindigo via flickr Creative Commons

Wellington, the capital and second-most populous city in New Zealand, will re-name itself “The Middle of Middle-earth,” for the three weeks leading up to and following the release of the first instalment of “The Hobbit,” the three-part sequel to the wildly popular “Lord of The Rings” trilogy, according to the AP.While the naming is considered “unofficial,” the city plans to sink approximately $900,000 into the November 28 premier. Mayor Celia Wade-Brown was on hand to announce the celebration, and lauded the current trilogy and the preceding one’s positive affect on the Wellington film industry.

The $900,000 of taxpayer money towards a movie premier may seem a bit steep, but according to Wade-Brown, the Wellington film industry now employs 3,000 people — which many credit to the original “Lord of The Rings” trilogy.

And after the first films were released, New Zealand saw a boom in tourism related to the J.R.R Tolkien-based movies. The New York Times reported last week that six per cent of all New Zealand visitors in 2004 —around 150,000 people — listed the movies as a “main” reason for travelling to New Zealand. 11,200 said “it was their only reason.”

The New Zealand government will spend $50 million on “Hobbit-related tourism promotions” this time around.

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