Mar 23rd 2010 | From The Economist online
FANS combing internet sites are not the only people eagerly anticipating a pair of epic fantasy movies based on “The Hobbit”, by J.R.R. Tolkien, that it is planned will start filming this year. New Zealand’s tourist industry, too, is eager to see the islands’ sweeping and unsullied vistas revealed once more to millions of cinemagoers, as they were almost a decade ago when the first of the three films based on Tolkien’s “The Lord of The Rings” was released. Those films did a great deal to boost the country’s tourism trade (Air New Zealand promoted itself as the “airline to Middle Earth”), fitting nicely with the country ’s “100% Pure New Zealand” marketing slogan, first used a couple of years earlier.