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The impact the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies has had on New Zealand tourism has been well-documented, but will the country be able to sustain the hype now that the final movie has hit theaters?
It is estimated The Hobbit films bring in $50 and $500 million per year. Recognizing the movies' role in tourism, New Zealand-based companies have started incorporating the films into their marketing strategies. Air New Zealand, for example, flies jets emblazoned with images from the movies, has commissioned Hobbit sculptures in the airports, and plays safety videos featuring characters from the films.
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We see Nantucket in our future for 2015...
As 2014 quickly comes to a close, there's no better time than now to think through exactly where we want the next 12 months to take us. Forget trend pieces trumpeting generic destination hotspots; over the next week, we'll share with you where our own Jaunted contributors personally want to go in 2015.
Kyle here—with the addition of a brand new baby suitcase in 2014 my plans for 2015 are just a little different. Sure far off stretches and exotic locations are still on the travel to-do list, but I think I will dream of some more realistic locations for 2015 in search of foodie finds, charming towns, and the great outdoors.
1. Nantucket! I have been before, but I can’t wait to go again. I was tipped off to the place’s awesomeness by our own fearless leader, and after visits a couple years in a row—I was hooked. Surfside Beach, Cisco Brewery, and the WAVE bus are all waiting for me this summer, and I can’t wait to share it all with my daughter.
2. For whatever reason I cannot get enough fun in the sun over in Hawaii. Whether it’s Maui, the Big Island, Kauai, or Oahu they all have their own treasures and treats. I think it might just be that I really enjoying swimming with the fish—like in the snorkeling way. Maybe this year will finally be the time I check out Molokai or Lanai, or try out scuba diving for the first time.
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The folks over at Air New Zealand are pretty darn excited to offer up some cool seats on their newest non-stop 777-300 service between Auckland and San Francisco, and they're about to brag all over the Bay City.
Service between the cities isn't actually new, but the airline used to fly Boeing 747s on it. Now that those big birds have been retired from their fleet, the 777 is doing the heavy lifting. With this aircraft switch comes a new and improved cabin for the 12-hour flight, finally including those futuristic SpaceSeats in premium economy and the comfy SkyCouch in economy.
Watch out San Diego Wellington, New Zealand is is launching a Comic Con of its own.
New Zealand is already a top destination for geeks who love Lord of the Rings, and now Wellington is ready to launch the first NZ Comic Con.
The time has arrived for fans to start brushing up on their knowledge of The Hobbit.
75 lucky winners (plus one friend each, so 150 total) will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to Middle Earth, aka New Zealand, where they will tour Lord of the Rings and Hobbit filming locations before catching a special screening of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies with Peter Jackson.
The airport—the busiest one in the country—has announced all kinds of new partnerships and initiatives, and it’s all part of bringing a little bit of green to the airport experience. Officials will be spending around $2.5 million over the next few years to manage, measure, and maintain all kinds of energy usage and utilization.
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Just when it seemed that front page focus on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner would peter out now that Boeing has delivered over 160 of them, the aircraft is again making headlines with the launch of a new version: the 787-9.
What that little "-9" brings is a bigger plane, as we've explained, and this week marks the introduction of the airliner to its first regularly scheduled commercial routes.
Do you think you're one of the world's biggest Hobbit fans? Then we've found the contest for you.
In anticipation of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies hitting theaters on Dec. 17, Tourism New Zealand and Air New Zealand recently announced The Hobbit Fan Fellowship Contest.
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New airplane alert!
163 Boeing 787 Dreamliners are flying the skies right now, a number current as of this week. That includes 162 787-8s and 1 lonely 787-9 for Air New Zealand, which only headed from Boeing's headquarters in Everett, WA to its new home of Auckland, New Zealand at dawn this morning.
That 787-9 won't be lonely for long, however; over 25 airlines have placed orders for more than 400 of the sleek and efficient jets. So why are we getting excited for yet another Dreamliner? The answer is shockingly simple: it's awesomer. Sure, the original flavor 787-8 is great and Boeing will continue to roll them out, but the 787-9 is, as Daft Punk would sing, "harder, better, faster, stronger."
Inside the Amenity Kit / Amenity Kits / Air New Zealand / Business Class Travel / New Zealand Travel / Premium Economy Travel / → All Tags
We come across some downright awesome airline amenity kits in our travels, and the surprises of each zippered pouch can often make or break comfort on a premium flight. With this in mind, here's to our new series: Inside the Amenity Kit, wherein we unzip, unwrap, and expose the loot inside:
Hopping across the Pacific is not a short, quick flight by any means. Thus, any little added comfort is a welcome bonus for passengers on flights that approach 12 or 13 hours, depending on the route. With this in mind, Air New Zealand provides an amenity kit both quirky and functional.
Passengers gearing up for extended period of time on the airline's 777-300s are greeted with a small, light grey felt pouch filled with goodies to ensure a comfy flight. We flew in Premium Economy one way and Business Class the other on a recent trip, and were offered the same exact amenity kit for both.
Foreign Grocery Friday / New Zealand Travel / Snack Travel / Drinking Travel / Auckland Travel / → All Tags
When we travel, one of our favorite things to do is to pop into a local grocery store and check out the food products and candies we'd never find anywhere else. So we're trying out this new feature, Foreign Grocery Friday, where each week we'll feature some of our (and your) favorite overseas treats. Got a recommendation? Let us know!
Something as simple as a delicious drink can transport your imagination back to the enjoyment of an overseas vacation. So, when we grabbed a few intriguing packages of a local treat during a visit to New Zealand, we were pretty stoked to save it for a rainy day.
Kids go nuts for it, adults reminisce about their childhood with it, and expats long for the taste of it; we're talking about Raro, the powdered drink mix.
This week we welcome a new addition to the awesome Instagramers with Pure New Zealand, the folks behind promoting the natural beauty of the island nation in the South Pacific. Started only this month, they've been pretty active already with a myriad of photos, ranging from city-scapes to nature shots with a gentle sprinkling of requisite Hobbit snaps.