There’s a long speech by Mark Burton, Minister of Tourism in NZ, over at in which he mentions all the traditional reasons people visit New Zealand – stunning scenery, adventure sports, friendly people etc. He speculated on why NZ is bucking the downward trend in tourism and gaining numbers since last year. He thinks its because there’s more focus on promoting its cultural events, wine, art, and the fact that it’s a cheap and safe destination.

The part of the speech that interests me is this:

“I believe we should be known as much for our culture and our people as we are for our landscape and adventure tourism.

“And it’s happening. Some of our most unique cultural events are being promoted internationally by Tourism New Zealand. Events such as the Wild Foods Festival, the International Festival of the Arts, the World of Wearable Arts Awards, Pacifica, Masterclass Wine and Food, and the L’Oreal New Zealand Fashion week, are all being showcased overseas, and the world’s perception of New Zealand is changing.

“This year, we have two important opportunities to market ourselves to the world: the Americas’ Cup and the release of the second Lord of the Rings film.”

I have to wonder how much of the world has any clue what the Americas’ Cup is. Not as many as have seen The Lord of the Rings, is my guess. Granted, on average yachties tend to be richer, so if they have a whim to come to NZ to watch the race finals, a lot of them will. But millions of people must see the LOTR films and wish they could go there. Oh well, I’ll do my bit for the economy and plug Red Carpet MovieTour’s LOTR -fan tours again! [More]