NZ guest nights rise in May as tourism continues unabated
By Rebecca Howard
July 12 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand national guest nights rose in May as the strong influx of tourists continued and as domestic stays also pushed higher.
Total guest nights climbed 7.3 percent to 2.5 million in April compared with the same month a year earlier, Statistics New Zealand said. Domestic guest nights gained 6.4 percent to 1.46 million while international guest nights rose 8.7 percent to 1.04 million, the agency said. Short-term visitor arrivals to New Zealand were up 8 percent in May 2017 compared with May 2016, with the biggest change in arrivals being from Australia – up 12 percent.
Seasonally adjusted guest nights for May 2017 fell 2.5 percent compared with April 2017, retreating from some of the gains in March and April.
The data show guest nights rose 7.6 percent in the North Island and 6.9 percent in the South Island from the year-earlier period, with all 12 regions of the country and all four accommodation types reporting more guest nights.
Regionally, Northland saw the strongest percentage gains, up 20 percent from a year earlier to 107,000 guest nights in the month, while guest nights in Hawkes Bay, Gisborne rose 15 percent to 96,000 and Taranaki, Manawatu-Wanganui posted a 14 percent rise to 120,000. Guest nights in Canterbury rose 8.4 percent, driven by more guest nights in the Mackenzie district and helped by Kaikoura guest nights recovering to similar levels as last year, down just 2.1 percent versus the same month a year ago.
"In the months after the November 2016 earthquakes, commercial guest nights in Kaikoura were 30-to-80 percent lower than the same months of the previous year," accommodation statistics manager Melissa McKenzie said. "It appears the combination of a slower winter month and construction workers staying in Kaikoura have helped May guest nights recover."
Holiday parks saw a 15 percent jump in guest nights, to 355,000, while motels saw a 9.8 increase in guest nights to 791,000. Domestic travellers outnumbered international travellers in hotels, motels and holiday parks but there were more international travellers staying in backpackers, Stats NZ said.