New Zealand accommodation providers saw record highs for an August month this year, driven by a surge in international visitors.

National guest nights jumped 6.4 per cent to 2.45 million in August from the same month a year earlier, the highest ever recorded for the month, Statistics New Zealand said.

The country's accommodation sector is in a sweet spot as record tourism pushes up demand, with research pointing to the need for increased hotel development over the next decade to avoid a looming shortfall of beds.

"A surge in international visitor arrivals provided most of the upward impetus this month," Statistics NZ business indicators senior manager Neil Kelly said. "Most guest-night series are at record highs for an August month."


International guest nights rose 13 per cent to 938,000 in August, while domestic guest nights advanced 2.5 per cent to 1.5 million. Guest nights spent in the North Island increased 9.2 per cent to 1.5 million as South Island guest nights advanced 2.3 per cent to 941,000.

Eleven of the 12 regional areas experienced a lift in guest nights, led by Northland where guest nights increased 25 per cent to 83,000, while Auckland remained the most popular region with 567,000 guest nights in the month. Only Southland declined, dipping 0.1 per cent to 42,000 guest nights in August.

Holiday parks, hotels and motels were more popular in the month for international guest nights, especially motels which increased 30 per cent in the month. Backpackers guest nights fell 1.2 per cent. All four accommodation types saw increased guest nights from domestic visitors. International visitors are the main contributor to backpacker accommodation, especially in summer, Statistics NZ said.