Guest night numbers drive booming month for tourism

By Patrick O'Sullivan, Jordan Bond

Add a comment
It was a busy start to the year for Palm City Motor Inn owner Helen Young, with increased visitor numbers to the region. Photo / Warren Buckland
It was a busy start to the year for Palm City Motor Inn owner Helen Young, with increased visitor numbers to the region. Photo / Warren Buckland

The busiest tourism month of the year delivered more bounty for accommodation providers in January, with guest nights 13 per cent up on the same period last year.

Hawke's Bay Tourism general manager Annie Dundas said she was "delighted" with the extra 18,000 accommodation nights.

"We're very, very, very pleased," she said.

"We're one of five regions that has grown the most out of the 29 or 30 in the country, so that for us is a very good result."

More than 163,000 guest nights were recorded in commercial accommodation in January, the busiest month since January 2010, according to Statistics NZ.

Actual visitor numbers are greater than these figures, as visitors staying in private accommodation or with friends or family are not recorded.

Ms Dundas said a busy January events schedule contributed to the increase, as well as good weather during Auckland and Wellington's long anniversary weekends.

"The operators are happy, which is really important. We have a quiet off-season so the summer is really important for people to make money for the year," she said.

January's increase followed strong figures for most of 2015, thanks to a Hawke's Bay Tourism Events Strategy making the region a year-round destination.

Today sees the Red Steel 100, the fourth round of the 2016 New Zealand Offshore Powerboat Championship.

Up to 25 boats will be launched at the Napier Sailing club from 10am on Saturday, some by crane.

Also today is the Ricoh Gentle Annie road race, part of the Ramblers Cycling Autumn Series and the Triple Peaks Challenge. Next weekend, on Easter Saturday, more than 2000 riders are expected to peddle the Hawke's Bay Trails for the annual Big Easy cycle ride.

Many from out of town will be attending the annual Highland Games Dancing and Solo Piping at Lindisfarne College on Saturday and Sunday.

Nationally, guest nights are at record levels.

January's 4.84 million guest nights is the strongest month in the 20-year history of the survey, and up 6.1 per cent on last January.

Record levels were also recorded for the North and South islands, domestic and international guest nights, and three of the four accommodation types.

International visitor arrivals are up 10.7 per cent, to 3.17 million for the year ending January 2016.

Total arrivals from China increased 42.5 per cent for the year, with significant visitor growth also recorded from the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, India and Brazil.

Tourism New Zealand's chief executive Kevin Bowler said the lower New Zealand dollar was playing its part in driving growth.

"With peak demand as strong as it is, our new focus is on building demand in New Zealand's off-peak periods and encouraging visitors to stay longer and travel to more regions."

- Hawkes Bay Today

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 10 Dec 2016 12:12:13 Processing Time: 545ms