Zealand guest nights rose in April for the 25th month as soaring tourist numbers helped mark a new record for the month.
National guest nights advanced 3.7 percent to 3.2 million in April from the same month a year earlier, Statistics New Zealand said. A 13 percent jump in international guest nights offset a 2.7 percent decline in domestic guest nights. The statistics agency noted domestic stays softened due to the Easter holiday period falling in March this year, compared with April last year.
The increase in accommodation numbers comes as New Zealand tourism booms, with overseas visitor arrivals for April rising 8 percent to 256,700, a record for the month. That gain was largely driven by a surge in holidaymakers from China, as well as increases from Korea, Malaysia and Japan. Annual visitor numbers through April rose 11 percent to a record 3.27 million.
Guest nights spent in the South Island increased 5.7 percent to 1.3 million in April, while North Island guest nights advanced 2.3 percent to 1.9 million.
Eight of the country's 12 regional areas had more guest nights. Southland led the increases with guest nights up 19 percent to 106,000, followed by the West Coast which gained 8.4 percent to 126,000 and Otago up 7.8 percent to 503,000. Auckland was the most popular region recording 634,000 guest nights in the month.
Guest nights and occupancy rates increased for hotels, motels and backpackers but declined for holiday parks. Hotel occupancy rates slipped to 71.9 percent after touching a record 80.3 percent in February, while motel rates slipped to 61.7 percent from a peak of 75.3 percent.
The statistics agency noted occupancy rates have been rising during the past three years as guest numbers grow while accommodation capacity remains little changed. Occupancy rates normally peak in summer and trough in winter.