New Zealand has received a massive boost in tourism thanks to Peter Jackson's Hobbit and Lord of the Rings films which goes without saying. But the latest figures show where Hobbiton's tourists are from, with Germany being a surprise source.
That's because the figures for March have shown that Germany has overtaken Japan as the country's fifth biggest source of tourists, perhaps suggesting that Middle Earth, and the chance to see some of it in real life is incredibly popular in Germany.
The figures from Statistics NZ say that total arrivals from Germany were up 14.5 per cent for the year to 74,224 - the highest ever recorded for a 12-month period - with 6.4 per cent growth in March. The New Zealand Herald reports that "Tourism New Zealand's manager of corporate affairs, Chris Roberts, said that while German holidaymakers were not the biggest spenders per day, their average length of stay - 24 days - made them a significant market."
Whilst 21% of Germans arriving into the country said that their decision to holiday to New Zealand was influenced by Middle Earth. However the report goes on to say that the Germans weren't the only ones flocking to see Hobbiton.
Roberts said interest from Britain and the United States had increased with the visit by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Stating that by the end of Prince William and Princess Kate's visit to the country there was a 15 per cent increase in British visits to new zealand.com, and a 10 per cent increase in US visits.
It's definitely in my bucket list to visit Middle Earth in New Zealand and see some of the iconic landmarks that Peter Jackson picked out and included in his Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies. Perhaps I should move to Germany first.
Daniel Wood is a long-time 'Lord of the Rings' and 'The Hobbit' fan after his dad read him both books as bedtime stories as a child. Of course back then he didn't understand a word he was hearing, so he's grateful they made films. Follow Daniel Wood on Twitter.