Accommodation providers benefited from the highest-ever guests stays in September, as record numbers of tourists travelled the country.
Guest nights increased 5.2 per cent to 2.48 million in September from the same month last year to the highest level for a September month since Statistics New Zealand began collecting the data in 1996. International guest nights jumped 7.7 per cent while domestic guests advanced 3.9 per cent.
Tourism is booming, with overseas visitor arrivals up 9 per cent to a record 3.04 million in the year through September, and arrivals for the month up 12 per cent on the year earlier. That's expected to continue as a decline in the value of the New Zealand dollar helps stretch the budget of overseas visitors, prompting them to spend more and making the country a more competitive destination, analysts said.
"There's been quite a pick up in inbound visitors to New Zealand so the tourism industry itself is gaining quite handily at the moment," said ASB Bank chief economist Nick Tuffley. "We think the outlook for tourism and the supporting sectors for that is very encouraging."
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South Island guest nights advanced 10.2 per cent from September last year, while North Island stays gained 2.4 per cent, the statistics agency said.
Guest nights in the Otago region, a key tourism destination including Queenstown, jumped 11.6 per cent to 378, while Canterbury stays rose 10.6 per cent to 332 as bed capacity increased again following the earthquakes.
Increased capacity on airline routes through Christchurch and to Queenstown, enabled better access to key markets in China and Australia, Tuffley said.
Visitors from China rose 41 per cent to a record 7472 in September, and that trend is expected to continue as consumer spending in China remains robust even as the economy slows, he said. Chinese visitors are increasingly travelling independently and staying for longer, rather than coming for a brief packaged visit, he said.
He said New Zealand has set new annual records for migration for the past 14 months, and the population growth may be underpinning domestic guest stays.