A surge in international visitors continued to drive a rise in guest nights in New Zealand, the latest data shows.

National guest nights jumped 6.0 per cent to 3 million in October compared to the same month a year ago, Statistics New Zealand said Friday. Guest nights were up 6.5 per cent on the North Island and 5.3 per cent on the South Island. Domestic guest nights dipped 0.6 per cent to 1.76 million while international guest nights jumped 17 per cent to 1.24 million.

"All of the national rise in guest nights was from foreign visitors," business indicators manager Melissa McKenzie said. "Although domestic guest nights fell slightly, most other guest-night series are at record highs for an October month."

The country's accommodation sector is buoyant, helped by record levels of tourism and migration. The government is encouraging investment into new hotels through its "project palace" initiative which helps identify opportunities for investors, amid concerns about a looming shortage of beds during peak periods. About 23 per cent of New Zealand's international visitors typically arrive during the three months of spring, according to data from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. That compares with about 35 per cent in the peak summer season.


Eleven of the 12 regional areas experienced a lift in guest nights, led by Hawke's Bay/Gisborne, where guest nights increased 10 per cent to 108,000. Auckland remained the most popular region with 641,000 guest nights in the month, followed by Canterbury with 419,000. The only region to experience a fall was Taranaki, Manawatu, Whanganui, where guest nights slipped 1.2 per cent to 146,000.

All four accommodation types had more guest nights in the month compared with the year earlier, Statistics New Zealand said.

The release of the October data was delayed due to the November 14 earthquake.