The impact of last year's Rugby World Cup is seen in the latest accommodation figures, which show a continued decline from a year ago.
Statistics NZ figures show total guest nights at short-term accommodation fell 3.6 per cent to 2.11 million in September, compared with the same month a year earlier, and were down 1.4 per cent from August.
Domestic guests accounted for 66 per cent of total guest nights in September this year, compared with only 55 per cent in September during the World Cup.
"The trend for international guest nights has been generally falling since a high point in September 2011, while the trend for domestic guest nights is relatively flat for the past year," Statistics NZ said.
And although there was some improvement in the number of backpacker nights between August and September, the trend for guest nights spent in backpacker accommodation has been decreasing consistently over the past year.
Statistics NZ said the trend for backpackers was down 15 per cent from the September 2011 high point and was at its lowest level since early 2004. Backpacker operator YHA said the sector had been hit by declining numbers of visitors from traditional European and British markets.
Prices for rooms in hotels and motels were also at times closer to backpacker rates, especially when booked late online, said YHA chief executive Mark Wells.
"Backpackers are in the same price range - there used to be a price distinction," he said.
Backpacker operators were hoping to attract more visitors from the Pacific rim including Asian countries, Australia and Canada.