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Tourism to surge, fuelled by films and ABs

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 12/05/2016

International tourism spending is expected to surge in the next six years, with the nation's film industry and the All Blacks considered some of New Zealand's biggest drawcards.

Foreign guests stumped up around $9 billion last year, but that is expected to rise by 65 per cent to $16 billion according to a new report from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

It corresponds to visitor arrivals growing to 4.5 million by 2022, up from the 3.1 million in 2015.

Tourism New Zealand's Rebecca Ingram says New Zealand has become the world's number one film destination, outshining New York and Ireland to take out the top slot.

"Post-Hobbit, we are maintaining the capability of Middle Earth," she said at the Trenz tourism conference in Rotorua.

"Here fantasy is reality. Unlike Hollywood there's no roping off."

The next New Zealand-shot movie to be released will be Disney's Pete's Dragon, starring Robert Redford.

While the whimsical wonders of New Zealand are increasingly attracting far-away guests, Australians remain the largest visiting demographic.

However, the Chinese will overtake them in terms of expenditure within the next two years and India and Indonesia are also forecasting more than 60 per cent increases in visitor spending by 2022.

Chris Atkinson, project lead for The All Blacks Experience - Step Inside the Legend, which is scheduled to open in Auckland in 2017, said the national rugby team's brand has also become a tourism experience.

"This will not be a museum but a very interactive, intense experience; guides will be called coaches who, combined with Maori culture, will be telling the story of who the All Blacks are."

Plans included tours guided by ex-All Blacks.

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