International guest nights rose 6.6 percent in February 2018 from February 2017, surpassing domestic guest nights for the first time in eight years, Stats NZ said today.
The numbers were boosted by international guests visiting over Chinese New Year, which was in mid-February this year, compared with late January in 2017.
The strong increase in international guest nights spent in short-term commercial accommodation coincided with a record February for international visitor arrivals.
“International guest nights were up the most in the South Island, with large increases for nights spent in Christchurch, Queenstown-Lakes, Kaikōura, Southland, and Dunedin,” accommodation statistics manager Melissa McKenzie said.
“Kaikōura’s increase, and to a lesser extent Christchurch’s, reflects recovery from the lower volume of guest nights that followed the November 2016 Kaikōura earthquake,” Ms McKenzie said.
At a national level, guest nights increased 2.1 percent in February 2018 from February 2017, dampened by fewer domestic guest nights (particularly in the North Island).
“New Zealanders spent fewer nights in holiday park and motel accommodation than last February, possibly reflecting Kiwis delaying their travel plans to wait out cyclones Gita and Fehi,” Ms McKenzie said. “Locals are typically more likely to change their plans at short notice than international guests.”
In the year ended February 2018, a record 39.6 million guest nights were spent in short-term commercial accommodation – 2.8 percent more than the previous February year, and more than any other 12-month period.
Over the same period international visitor arrivals numbered 3.78 million, up 7 percent. New Zealand residents took 2.87 million trips overseas, up 8 percent.