Tourism in a small region of New Zealand has grown remarkably in the space of just five years due to the incredible popularity of the Hobbit film trilogy.

The set of Hobbiton, New Zealand.

The set of Hobbiton, New Zealand. Image by Anup Shah / CC BY-SA 2.0

A special interactive report by the New Zealand Herald discovered that spending by international visitors had trebled, and sometimes more than quadrupled in the area, since 2009.

The Matamata region was the location for filming for all three parts of the Hobbit Trilogy, the follow-up to Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings series (also filmed in Jackson’s home country of New Zealand).

Spending by Australians in Matamata was up to NZ$12.1 million from April 2013 to March 2014 from just NZ$3.7 million for a comparable one year period in 2008 and 2009.

Similarly, income from German visitors rose from NZ$1 million to NZ$2.7 million while rates of spending by US tourists grew almost five-fold.

Visitor numbers at the Hobbiton attraction – which offers tourists to chance to visit set locations – have risen even more dramatically.

In the first three months of 2011, it had 33,000 visitors but by March of this year, those figures were up to 360,000.