New Zealand guest nights set a fourth straight annual record in November as both domestic and international tourism numbers continue to climb.

A record 40.31 million guest nights were spent in hotels, motels, holiday parks and backpackers in the year ended Nov. 30, up 2.6 per cent on the same period a year earlier, according to Stats NZ.

Domestic guest nights rose to 22.7 million, 2.4 per cent more than a year earlier, while the 17.6 million international guest nights were 2.8 per cent higher.

Tourism has been a key factor underpinning the economy. Data last week showed 3.85 million tourists came to New Zealand in the November year, 3.6 per cent more than a year earlier and a new record. The 385,800 visitor arrivals in November were 7 per cent higher than a year earlier.

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Guest nights typically peak in January, and almost reached 5 million in January 2018. January guest nights have exceeded 4.8 million since 2016.

November guest nights rose to 3.54 million, 3.8 per cent higher than a year earlier. Domestic nights were 4.2 per cent higher at 1.8 million, while international nights rose 3.4 per cent to 1.73 million.

Stats NZ noted that both the monthly and annual figures were driven by increased South Island tourism.

Guest nights there in November were 9.7 per cent higher than a year earlier, while those in the North Island fell 2.8 per cent. In the year through November, South Island guest nights rose 6.3 per cent, while those in the North Island fell 0.7 per cent.

Tourism hotspots Canterbury and Queenstown had the most growth among international travellers, with their November guest nights up 23 and 6.9 per cent respectively from the same month of 2017.

"Increased international guest nights in the South Island were consistent with international visitor arrivals, which were also up in Christchurch and Queenstown for November," accommodation and construction statistics manager Melissa McKenzie said.