J. R. R. Tolkien: Impacting a country

It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of C.S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien. I love their books, and I adore the movies that are based on their books as well. I look up to them as a writer, and I feel that both of these men had a great deal of useful insights to share with the world. What completely boggles my mind, though, is how much the world is still impacted by these men, even though they’ve been dead for a number of years.

J. R. R. Tolkien is the superstar of this example. The movie adaptation of his books has been earth shattering for New Zealand. The most obvious example is the tourism industry. It nurtured the creation of a lot of new and unique tour companies. There are tours available of Hobbiton, horse riding tours of various film locations, and more. But that’s not all. The whole country has hopped on the Middle-Earth bandwagon, and uses it to campaign for tourism.

The campaign seems to be working. Tourism was up 10% compared to last year, and 8.5% of New Zealand visitors cited the Hobbit movie as their reason for visiting. More over, 13% of those tourists took part in some sort of Middle Earth related tourism. That might not seem like a lot, but for a country the size of New Zealand those numbers mean a great deal of money pouring into their economy. (Picture it like this, what if 8.5% of all tourists to America said Disney was their reason for visiting?)

What other writer can stand up and say they have had such a wide spread impact? Best selling authors eat your hearts out! Snobbery aside, let’s think about this: It all started with a book. Books really do have the power to change not only people, but the world.

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