Total guest nights hit a record in the year to October, with hotels, motels and holiday parks all recording increases as New Zealand tourism numbers continue to climb.

In the year ended October 31, there was a record 40.2 million guest nights, up 2.6 per cent from the October 2017 year. Domestic guest nights lifted 2.3 per cent to 22.6 million while international guest nights were up 3 per cent to 17.6 million.

Tourism has been a key factor underpinning the economy, with annual international tourism arrivals hitting a record 3.82 million in the year ended October.

Hotels, motels, and holiday parks recorded increases, up 3.9 per cent, 0.8 per cent, and 5.8 per cent respectively. Fewer nights, however, were spent in backpackers, with guest nights in those establishments down 1.7 per cent in the 12 months to October 31.


According to Stats NZ, annual backpacker guest nights have been tapering off from a peak in the year ended December 2017.

Falling guest nights can be influenced by various factors, typically by guests spending fewer nights in accommodation, but also by businesses shutting down or changing the type of accommodation they offer. Accommodation type changes can include a backpacker becoming a hotel or motel, or by converting to long-term accommodation. These are excluded from the survey, says acting accommodation and constructions statistics manager Dave Adair.

The data doesn't include private accommodation, which covers bed and breakfasts, holiday homes and Airbnb.

Total guest nights in October were 3.3 million, up 3.9 per cent on the year. Hotel guest nights lifted 7.1 per cent from October last year, motels were up 0.5 per cent and holiday parks were up 7.9 per cent. Backpackers, meanwhile, slid 2.1 per cent.

The occupancy rate across accommodation types lifted 1 per cent in October to 43.1 per cent. Hotel occupancy was the highest, while holiday parks were the lowest.