New Zealand guest nights rose to a six-month high in the final month of 2012 as international visitors filled local accommodation in Auckland, Canterbury and Otago.
Total guest nights at commercial accommodation rose 3.1 per cent to a seasonally adjusted 2.7 million in December, the highest level since June, according to Statistics New Zealand.
That was led by a 6 per cent gain in international guest nights to a 14-month high 1.08 million. That came in a month when short-term arrivals slipped 0.1 per cent to 364,000. Guest nights from locals rose 0.6 per cent to 1.63 million.
South Island guest nights jumped 7.2 per cent to 1.06 million in December, in contrast to the North Island, which showed a 0.5 per cent monthly gain to 1.64 million. The main regional gainers were Canterbury, Auckland and Otago, Statistics NZ said.
Hotel guest nights rose 4.5 per cent to a seasonally adjusted 944,000 in December. That was followed by a 3.6 per cent increase at motels, motor inns apartments to 885,000, and a 2.8 per cent lift at holiday parks to 521,000. Backpackers' guest nights fell 0.4 per cent to 347,000.
Accommodation capacity shrank 0.3 per cent to 4.36 million guest nights in December from the same month a year earlier, with a 1 per cent fall in the number of establishments to 3.21 million.
The occupancy rate was 40.2 per cent in the month, the highest rate since March.