Region popular in off season

By Kim Fulton

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IN DEMAND: Hawke's Bay Tourism's Annie Dundas said May was very strong. PHOTO/FILE
IN DEMAND: Hawke's Bay Tourism's Annie Dundas said May was very strong. PHOTO/FILE

More visitors are coming to Hawke's Bay outside of the usual tourist season.

Hawke's Bay guest nights were up 4.5 per cent this May on last to 68,285, according to Statistics New Zealand.

Hawke's Bay Tourism general manager Annie Dundas said this May was a particularly strong month and the Air New Zealand Hawke's Bay International Marathon had been a big driver of visitor nights.

Accommodation providers were positive about winter and the settled weather was helping tourism.

"A number of the hotels are seeing record occupancies for this time of year and well ahead of last year, so they're pretty happy," Ms Dundas said, adding that several events were coming up, including the Food and Wine Classic (FAWC!).

Record numbers of tickets had been sold for this month's Winter Deco.

The Brass Band National Championships were taking place this week in Hawke's Bay.

"There is quite a lot happening so we're expecting winter to actually be not too bad," said Ms Dundas.

Hawke's Bay Tourism had been working to attract visitors in the colder months.

"We want to try to smooth out the year and make sure that it's viable for businesses year-round.

"And so we've certainly seen some gains and wins in the off season," she said.

Statistics New Zealand business indicators senior manager Neil Kelly said international guest nights continued to rise strongly this May on last nationwide, but were offset by a drop in domestic guest nights.

May last year had been a record May for domestic and total guest nights.

Domestic guest nights were down 6.4 per cent this May compared to last, with motels and hotels accounting for most of the fall.

International guest nights were up 9.7 per cent, with gains for stays at both hotels and motels.

Overall, total national guest nights for May 2016 were down just 0.4 per cent on May 2015.

North Island guest nights were down 1.2 per cent, while South Island guest nights were up 1 per cent.

For the year ended May 2016, national guest nights were up 5.3 per cent on the previous year.

The Accommodation Survey collects data for guests staying in hotels, motels, backpacker accommodation, and holiday parks in New Zealand each month.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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