Tourism New Zealand is about to take a $60 million punt on an imaginary creature with short legs and furry feet.
The first of Sir Peter Jackson's widely anticipated two Hobbit movies - adaptions of JRR Tolkien's fantasy novel - is due out in December and Tourism New Zealand is planning to ensure the world knows they were filmed here.
Chief executive Kevin Bowler says they are working with Warner Bros and Wingnut Films, sorting out the finer details of what the advertising will look like, what Hobbit themes could be used with the 100% Pure brand.
It is hoped to be sorted out within the next month, developed in time for the Northern Hemisphere summer.
Most of Tourism NZ's marketing budget of $65m would then have a Hobbit theme, he told NZ Newswire.
He would not contemplate the possibility that the films could bomb.
"We are incredibly confident about the future of The Hobbit films. We know the Lord of the Rings was a great success as a film, but also as an indirect way of promoting New Zealand."
When the Lord of the Rings trilogy was first released more than 10 years ago, Tourism NZ spent a lot of time pushing the message that New Zealand was the "home of Middle Earth", and that would continue with The Hobbit.
As part of the government's deal with Warner Bros to amend labour laws to secure the filming, the DVD release of the first Hobbit film will include a promotional clip, or separate DVD, on New Zealand.
Mr Bowler said Tourism NZ was now working with Sir Peter about what would be on that clip.
Tourism NZ is finishing the second year of a three-year plan concentrating on pulling tourists from Australia, China and the US, then other countries after that.
China is the fourth biggest market for New Zealand, but most Chinese tourists are tacking their trip on to the end of a visit to Australia and only spending a few days here.
Mr Bowler said Tourism NZ needed a range of measures to change that, and a key was ensuring the Chinese travel industry had access to packages for tourists to stay a week or longer.
"It requires quite a lot of work. You have to identify the right partner, the ones that are enthusiastic about New Zealand, who want to sell New Zealand and who are prepared to look for the quality end of the market."
At the Trenz tourism conference in Queenstown this week, some of the focus has been on getting more tourists from another Asian powerhouse - the booming economy of Indonesia.
Latest annual figures show just 12,000 Indonesians visited New Zealand - a fraction of the total of 2.6m visitors.
But tourism businesses are eyeing Indonesia's population of 250 million, 10 per cent of them very wealthy.
"I am really optimistic about Indonesia's wealth," Mr Bowler said.
"It's like another Australia, sitting just above Australia. It's our closest Asian neighbour and it's a market Australia does very well out of and one of the reasons for that is direct air access."
It was recently announced that Indonesian airline Garuda will start flying directly to Auckland next year.
Tourism NZ was spending "very, very little" on marketing in Indonesia but that would increase on the back of news of the Garuda flights.
But it would not be an overnight success, he said.
"My feeling is, that with direct air services that could easily double quite quickly and then it will be a case of building that to more serious numbers."