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NZ guest nights rise for 20th month as Queenstown, Wanaka remain tourist drawcards

Tuesday 19th January 2016

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New Zealand guest nights rose in November for the 20th month in a row, as the tourism boom saw domestic and international travelers spend more nights in all kinds of accommodation.

Total guest nights increased 4.6 percent to 3.11 million in November 2015 from the same month a year earlier, Statistics New Zealand said. Domestic guest nights jumped 5.2 percent, more than the 3.8 percent gain in international guest nights. 

The increase in accommodation numbers comes as New Zealand tourism booms, with total visitor arrivals in November 2015 rising 11 percent from the same month in 2014 to 300,500, led by visitors from China, Australia, the US, Korea and Taiwan. Annual visitor numbers also rose 9 percent to a record 3.09 million, with a weaker New Zealand dollar seen as stoking tourism by making local attractions cheaper for foreigners. 

"Guest nights continued to rise this month, with the South Island leading the way when compared with November 2014," business indicators manager Clara Eatherley said. "The Otago region had the largest increase in guest nights, boosted mainly by Queenstown and Wanaka."

Nights spent in the South Island rose 7 percent to 1.29 million, with international guest nights rising 8 percent and domestic nights up 5.9 percent.

Regionally, this was led by Otago - a key tourism destination including Queenstown and Wanaka - which rose 11 percent. All five regions of the South Island posted increased guest nights, with Southland rising 6.9 percent, and the West Coast 5.5 percent.

The North Island rose 2.9 percent overall. Domestic guest nights rose 4.9 percent, while international guest nights were flat. Bay of Plenty saw a 9.4 percent rise in guest nights, while Wellington and Waikato each boosted their numbers by 6.9 percent. 

All four types of accommodation surveyed - hotels, motels, backpackers and holiday parks - reported gains in guest nights in November, with hotels, motels and holiday parks also showing increased occupancy rates.

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