New Zealand guest nights rose 4.3 per cent in November from a year earlier as the number of international visitors, buoyed by more people from across the Tasman, helped lift the occupancy rate of the nation's accommodation.
Total guest nights increased to 3.41 million in November from 3.27 million a year earlier, Statistics New Zealand said. Of that, international guest nights rose 5.6 per cent to 1.67 million, outpacing a 3.1 per cent gain in domestic accommodation stays to 1.73 million.
The increase helped lift the occupancy rate across accommodation types to 48.6 per cent in November, the highest since March, and up from 47 per cent a year earlier.
"An increase in visitor arrivals from Australia may have contributed to the growth in international guest nights," said accommodation statistics manager Melissa McKenzie.
"This November was a warmer, drier month than the previous November which may have helped guest night increases, particularly for holiday parks."
Government figures showed international visitor arrivals rose 8 per cent to 360,136 in November from the same month a year earlier, of which Australia's accounted for about a third.
New Zealand has been enjoying a booming tourism sector in recent years as low airfares made it easier for visitors, although that may be coming to an end with global oil prices on the rise.
Today's figures show hotel guest nights, typically favoured by foreign visitors, rose 4.2 per cent to 1.24 million in November from a year earlier, with international stays up 5.8 per cent to 631,000. Hotel occupancy was 77.2 per cent in the month, compared to 75.8 per cent a year earlier.
Motel stays increased 1.3 per cent to 1.08 million, with a 6.6 per cent gain from international visitors to 403,000 offsetting a 1 per cent decline in domestic guest nights to 677,000. Motel occupancy was 68.2 per cent versus 66.9 per cent in November 2016.
Backpacker guest nights climbed 7.3 per cent to 495,000 with an occupancy rate at 50 per cent compared to 47.7 per cent in 2016, while holiday park stays gained 6.9 per cent to 588,000 at an occupancy rate of 48.6 per cent, up from 47 per cent.
The increase in accommodation was reasonably well spread with North Island stays up 4.3 per cent to 1.99 million and South Island guest nights gaining 4.4 per cent to 1.42 million. All 12 regions reported an increase in guest nights.