International visitors drive up October guest nights

All of the rise has been attributed to foreign visitors.

A surge in international visitors continued to drive a rise in guest nights in New Zealand, the latest data shows.

National guest nights jumped 6.0 percent to 3 million in October compared to the same month a year ago, Statistics New Zealand said. Guest nights were up 6.5 percent on the North Island and 5.3 percent on the South Island. Domestic guest nights dipped 0.6 percent to 1.76 million while international guest nights jumped 17 percent to 1.24 million.

"All of the national rise in guest nights was due to foreign visitors," business indicators manager Melissa McKenzie said. "Although domestic guest nights fell slightly, most other guest-night series are at record highs for an October month."

The country's accommodation sector is buoyant, helped by record levels of tourism and migration. The government is encouraging investment into new hotels through its "project palace" initiative which helps identify opportunities for investors, amid concerns about a looming shortage of beds during peak periods. About 23 percent of New Zealand's international visitors typically arrive during the three months of spring, according to data from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. That compares with about 35 percent in the peak summer season.

Eleven of the 12 regional areas experienced a lift in guest nights, led by Hawke's Bay/Gisborne, where guest nights increased 10 percent to 108,000. Auckland remained the most popular region with 641,000 guest nights in the month, followed by Canterbury with 419,000. The only region to experience a fall was Taranaki, Manawatu, Whanganui, where guest nights slipped 1.2 percent to 146,000.

All four accommodation types had more guest nights in the month compared with the year earlier, Statistics NZ said.

The release of the October data was delayed due to the November 14 earthquake.


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