Auckland has cracked the two million mark for annual international visitor arrivals for the first time.
The latest results from Statistics New Zealand show international arrivals to Auckland for the 12 months to the end of December were 2,029,568, an increase of 5 per cent on the previous year.
The surge in international arrivals through Auckland reflects the national picture, with figures out last week showing an overall increase of 5 per cent to 2.86 million.
Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (Ateed) chief executive Brett O'Riley said this was an "excellent" milestone for the city.
"This record-breaking result supports Auckland's positioning as a great destination with unique attractions and experiences that have helped earn our city international recognition as a leading tourism destination," O'Riley said.
The growth was largely attributed to a 14 per cent increase in arrivals from China, an 11.6 per cent increase from Germany, and a 10.4 per cent increase in arrivals from the US.
Auckland has also seen consistent accommodation occupancy rates over the past five years, with international guest nights rising 4.5 per cent to just over three million.
The overall occupancy rate for Auckland hotels was 82 per cent last year and room rates were up from an average of $140 a night to $147.
"When occupancy gets above 80 per cent that's a good investment signal," O'Riley said. "The value measure is rates and seeing some upward movement in rates is good. By last count there are nine new hotel projects in the pipeline. Now not all those will come to fruition, but that is really positive."
Auckland Council-owned Ateed aims to increase the contribution from the visitor economy, growing it from $4.8 billion in 2012 to $7.2 billion a year in 2021.
O'Riley said that on some peak weekends some people were staying as far afield as Matakana and Tuakau.
"At this moment that fits into being a nice problem to have."
Auckland Airport has also been breaking records. In figures released yesterday the airport said international passenger volumes (excluding transit passengers) for December were the highest for a single month.
The total of 780,925 passengers in December was 11,000 greater than the previous record in January last year and 4.8 per cent higher than in December 2013.
The company said the December result was fuelled by capacity increases on North Asian routes, driving higher visitor arrivals over summer, as well as people travelling to visit friends and relatives over Christmas and New Year.
For the 12 months to the end of December the number of international passengers (excluding transit passengers) exceeded 7.8 million. Last year the increase was driven by increases predominantly from China, Australia, India, Japan and the US, largely due to additional route capacity.
This year has got off to a strong start with a new weekly record of 195,103 international passengers in the week ending January 11.