Rotorua's tourism industry has seen its best August on record for visitor nights and visits to attractions and activities.

Data released by Statistics New Zealand reported a record August for nights spent in commercial accommodation in Rotorua with hotels, motels, backpacker hostels and holiday parks collectively hosting 139,300 visitor nights for the month.

That was up 20,900 nights or 18 per cent on August 2015 compared to a six per cent increase nationally.

The Rotorua Attractions and Activities Monitor also reported a record August with 180,800 visits, up 19,100, or 12 per cent, on the previous year.


Both sectors had increased growth with visits to activities up 29 per cent and visits to attractions up 11 per cent.

Rotorua Canopy Tours is leading the way in the revival of Rotorua's tourism industry.
Rotorua Canopy Tours is leading the way in the revival of Rotorua's tourism industry.

Rotorua Canopy Tours operations manager Alex Barr said August had finished off what was a great winter for their business.

"Not only was it a great winter, but our forward bookings are already looking strong for summer.

"We can't wait to see what the peak season brings," Ms Barr said.

Destination Rotorua acting chief executive Andrew Wilson says 2016 is proving to be a great year for the local visitor industry.

"This exceptional August has followed on from a record breaking July.

"Rotorua's visitor industry is the region's largest employer and certainly looks to be in great shape after continuing to record such strong numbers through the shoulder season."

"It's also the latest in a string of positive announcements with Rotorua Canopy Tours last month receiving New Zealand's Supreme Tourism Award."

It was the second consecutive year a Rotorua business won the award with Skyline Rotorua the supreme winner in 2015.

"To have a fledgling business like Rotorua Canopy Tours take out New Zealand's ultimate tourism award shows Rotorua is a great place to establish a tourism business.

"This continues a legacy of other successful tourism ideas being pioneered in Rotorua, a number of which have expanded to other regions and beyond," Mr Wilson said.

Growth in Rotorua's visitor activity is being driven by both the domestic and international markets.

"The Famously Rotorua domestic marketing campaign has helped to raise Rotorua's profile among domestic visitors, while improved air connectivity into New Zealand continues to open up and reinvigorate Rotorua's international markets," he said.

Data released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment illustrates how direct flights by US airlines have impacted Rotorua, with US visitor expenditure in Rotorua for the month of August 2016 increasing 36 per cent, compared to a 13 per cent increase nationally, during the previous year.

Strong positive growth from the North American market was also reported in the APR Consultants Rotorua Attractions & Activities Monitor for the same period with visits by North Americans up 2100 visits, or 43 per cent, to 7000 visits.