Guest nights continued to increase in December 2017, up 4 percent from December 2016, Stats NZ said today. This rise followed similar increases in October and November 2017. December’s growth was led by more international guest nights in the South Island and helped by a record month for international visitor arrivals. While both domestic and international guest nights increased in both islands, the South Island’s increase in international guest nights stood out – up 8.3 percent from December 2016.

South Island growth was driven by more international guest nights being spent in Canterbury, Otago, and Southland regions than in December 2016. Canterbury guest nights had been dampened in December 2016 following the Kaikōura earthquakes in November.

“In the South Island, international guest nights exceeded domestic guest nights in December, which has been common in recent years,” accommodation statistics manager Melissa McKenzie said.

“In contrast, in the North Island New Zealanders using commercial accommodation dominate guest nights all year round,” Ms McKenzie said.

In the year ended December 2017, over 39 million guest nights were spent in short-term commercial accommodation, 2.5 percent more than in the December 2016 year.

The accommodation survey collects data for guests staying in short-term commercial accommodation such as hotels, motels, backpackers, and holiday parks. Hosted and private accommodation, such as bed and breakfasts and holiday homes, are excluded.