Visitor numbers are rising in Whanganui and summer events are expected to bring more to the district.

Visit Whanganui promotion and marketing manager, Lyn Cheyne, said the district was expecting good visitor numbers over summer.

Whanganui was always busy in the summer months. The Suzuki Series Cemetery Circuit and other iconic events contributed to that, she said.

"The Cemetery Circuit has a good problem - struggling to accommodate the number of race entrants and we've had some fantastic responses to online promotion of the event in Australia."


In January the Whanganui Cricket Festival, Wanganui Opera Week, the Whanganui Vintage Weekend, Ratana celebrations and the Wanganui Manawatu Sea Fishing Club Annual 3-Day Fishing Competition would attract visitors.

In February the district had the NZMG Masters Games and the Ohakea Air Show to look forward to, said Ms Cheyne.

"Add to this the increasing interest in the art studios and galleries and of course our regular riverside markets and we've got a lot to attract people here."

Ms Cheyne said Whanganui had strong domestic visitation and that was crucial to the sustainability of every tourism destination in New Zealand.

About 80 per cent of Whanganui's visitors were from New Zealand and 20 per cent were international. International visitor numbers to the district were increasing.

Ms Cheyne said commercial guest nights rose 4.4 per cent for September 2016 compared to the same month the previous year, including a 23.5 per cent rise in international guest nights.

Annual growth figures for regional tourism expenditure showed year-on-year growth of 10.3 per cent for July.

"What this shows is that we are attracting a higher value visitor resulting in growth for tourism spend," said Ms Cheyne.

Statistics New Zealand data shows commercial guest nights in the Taranaki, Manawatu and Whanganui area were up 5.1 per cent this September on last to 151,000.

Ms Cheyne said how people were travelling was changing and more were using bed and breakfasts, motor homes and Airbnb as well as staying with friends and family.

Non-commercial accommodation had grown over the past three months and was averaging 72 per cent of all guest nights for that period, she said.

Statistics New Zealand said international visitors continued to boost guest-night numbers nationwide this September, particularly for motels and hotels.

National guest nights for September 2016 were 6.4 percent higher than in September 2015.

Business indicators senior manager Neil Kelly said over two-thirds of the rise in guest nights was from foreign visitors.

For September 2016, compared with the previous September international guest nights were up 12.4 per cent and domestic guest nights were up 3 per cent.

North Island guest nights were up 6.6 per cent, and South Island guest nights were up 6 per cent.

For the year ended September 2016, national guest nights were up 6.2 percent from the September 2015 year.