Prime Minister and Tourism Minister John Key has today helped launch a new 'Middle Earth' inspired tourism campaign at the New Zealand Embassy in Tokyo.
The feature of the campaign is a new advert to play in Japanese cinemas that likens New Zealand to the Middle Earth from the upcoming Hobbit film.
There are high hopes for the campaign as Japanese film goers spent $300 million on Peter Jackson's earlier Lord of the Rings trilogy.
The campaign is aimed at trying to turn around a slump in visitor numbers from Japan. In 2005 around 160,000 Japanese visited New Zealand annually, however that number had dropped to around 68,000 this year.
John Key acknowledges that New Zealand can do better in getting people to visit from Japan and he's confident that the Middle Earth inspired campaign will do well in the Japanese market.
ONE News Political Editor Corin Dann said Key also has some political capital invested in the success films and the spin off tourism campaign.
When defending controversial employment law changes to keep the production in New Zealand two years ago, Key pointed to the potential tourism gains New Zealand could from the Hobbit films.