New Zealand guest nights rose in February for the 23rd month in a row, reflecting broad-based gains across both islands in all accommodation types.
National guest nights advanced 7 per cent to 3.966 million in February from a year earlier, although slipping from the record 4.844 million in January, Statistics New Zealand said. February figures were bolstered by an extra day for leap year and warm weather, it said.
New Zealand tourism is on a tear, with February visitor arrivals increasing 9 per cent to a new record high for the month, and setting a new annual record of 3.2 million. Guest nights have been rising for almost the past two years, with the latest figures showing gains across all regions, all accommodation types, and driven by both domestic and international guests.
Nights spent in the South Island increased 7.8 per cent to 1.747 million while North Island nights gained 6.5 per cent to 2.219 million. International guest nights jumped 8 per cent, while domestic guest nights rose 6.1 per cent.
Guest nights were up in all 12 regions. Southland, known for tourist drawcards such as Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound, the Catlins and Bluff, led the gains, up 16.7 percent, while the Taranaki, Manawatu, Whanganui region increased 12.1 per cent, the Hawke's Bay and Gisborne region advanced 10.8 per cent, and Wellington rose 10.5 per cent.
All four types of accommodation surveyed - hotels, motels, backpackers and holiday parks - reported gains in guest nights in February, along with increased occupancy rates.
Hotel occupancy rates increased 2.4 percentage points to a record high 80.3 per cent while motel rates advanced 2.2 percentage points to a record 75.3 per cent. Capacity fell for all accommodation types except backpackers.