Guest nights rise in October on good weather and school holidays

New Zealand has been experiencing record levels of tourism in recent years.

New Zealand national guest nights rose in October from a year earlier as demand was bolstered by good weather, a longer ski season and more school holidays.

Total guest nights gained 4.8 percent to 3.15 million in October from the same month a year earlier, Statistics New Zealand said. Guest nights in the North Island rose 2.5 percent while South Island guest nights climbed 8.4 percent.

Of that, domestic guest nights rose 9.5 percent in the South Island, while international guest nights advanced 7.4 percent. In the North Island, domestic guest nights rose 2.3 percent and international guest nights rose 2.9 percent.

New Zealand has been experiencing record levels of tourism in recent years, putting a strain on the accompanying infrastructure which has often struggled to keep up with demand.

Eleven of the country's 12 regional areas reported more guest nights in October, with Taranaki, Manawatu and Wanganui up 15 percent and Southland up 20 percent.

More than half the national increase came from Canterbury, Otago, and the Bay of Plenty, where guest nights rose 7.5 percent, 7.3 percent and 9.2 percent respectively.

"The strong growth in Canterbury was driven by more guest nights spent in hotels and backpackers than in October last year. In Otago, motel and hotel guest nights increased the most, boosted by tourist hot spots Wanaka and Queenstown. The growth in the Bay of Plenty was driven by increases in motel and holiday park guest nights," accommodation statistics manager Melissa McKenzie said.

The only exception was Auckland, typically the first port of call for international visitors, where guest nights declined 6.3 percent in October from a year earlier.

Hotel guest nights rose 1.2 percent from October last year to 1.15 million, while motel nights rose 4.6 percent to 1.04 million and backpacker stays rose 1.5 percent to 408,000. Holiday park nights jumped 16 percent to 545,000.

The hotel occupancy rate edged up 0.3 percentage points to 68.2 percent, while the holiday park rate rose 1.9 percent to 16.3 and the backpacker rate advanced 0.5 percentage points to 41.0 percent. Meanwhile, the motel rate slipped 0.8 percentage points to 58.2 percent.