Guest nights rise in September, driven by South Island tourism
New Zealand national guest nights rose in September as increased demand in the South Island was driven by greater numbers of domestic visitors and hotel stays.
Total guest nights gained 1.4 percent to 2.67 million in September from the same month a year earlier, Statistics New Zealand said. Guest nights in the North Island dropped 1 percent while South Island guest nights increased 5.2 percent.
Domestic guest nights rose 7 percent in the South Island, while international guest nights advanced 3.4 percent. In the North Island, domestic guest nights fell 2.9 percent and international guest nights rose 3.3 percent.
"South Island guest nights stood out this month," accommodation statistics manager Melissa McKenzie said in a statement. "When compared with the same month of the previous year, South Island guest nights have increased six months in a row, following a brief period of falls influenced by the Kaikōura earthquake. The continuous growth over the last six months has been reflected in almost every region in the South Island."
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.
Eight of the country's 12 regional areas reported more guest nights in September, with Otago up 5.2 percent and Canterbury rising 4.8 percent. The biggest decreases were seen in Northland, down 4.3 percent, and Auckland which dropped 4 percent.
Hotel guest nights rose 4.2 percent from September 2016 to 1.07 million, while motel nights fell 1.4 percent to 890,000 and backpacker stays slipped 2.2 percent to 326,000. Holiday parks rose 3.5 percent to 382,000.
The hotel occupancy rate edged up 1.5 percentage points to 65.6 percent, while the holiday park rate was unchanged at 12.7 percent and the backpacker rate advanced 0.1 percentage points to 35.9 percent. Meanwhile, the motel rate slipped 1 percentage points to 54.1 percent.