Skift Take

With Earthquakes and global recessions, it's been a difficult few years for a far-flung destination like New Zealand. The country's creative branding and targeted marketing are paying off, though.

New Zealand saw a rise in visitors, including those from Britain, this year, according to the latest tourism figures.

Figures released yesterday by Tourism New Zealand reported a significant growth in the number of international visitors to the country, with a 10 per cent rise in arrivals during the first half of 2013, compared to the same period last year. There was a 3.3 per cent increase in visitors from Britain.

Earlier this month, interest in New Zealand was stirred again with the new BBC 2 drama series “Top of the Lake” which was filmed in the picturesque village of Glenorchy, while last December, travel websites reported a growth in searches and bookings to New Zealand following the launch of the film The Hobbit.

A survey by Tourism New Zealand indicated that 8.5 per cent of visitors cited The Hobbit as one reason for coming and that 13 per cent took part in some kind of hobbit-themed tourism, such as visiting a film set.

Holiday arrivals from China rose by more than a quarter compared to the same time last year, with a 30.9 per cent growth, while arrivals from the US, the third-largest source of visitors to New Zealand for the year as a whole, also saw a large increase at 20.7 per cent.

There was also an increase in tourists from Japan (7.8 per cent), Australia (6 per cent) and Germany (2.9 per cent). The overall number of international arrivals in the last six months rose by 5.8 per cent on last year and by 5.6 per cent last month.

“It is encouraging to see this growth from our traditional long-haul markets after what has been a difficult few years for the industry,” said Justin Watson, Tourism New Zealand’s acting Chief Executive.

Earlier this week, a strong 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck New Zealand’s capital Wellington . In 2011, the country was put in a state of emergency following the most destructive quake since 1931 which caused an estimated NZ$4 billion in damage while in 2010, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake devastated Christchurch on the South Island killing at least 65 people.

Last January, 11 people died following a hot air balloon crash near Carterton, about 50 miles north of Wellington.

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Tags: tourism

Photo Credit: Air New Zealand's video featuring characters from The Hobbit was the most viral ad in 2012. Air New Zealand