New Zealand hotels enjoyed a record breaking year in 2015, increasing yield and productivity, according to new Tourism Industry Association statistics. TIA’s Hotel Sector members recorded a national average occupancy rate of 79 percent, up three points on 2014 and the highest level in at least five years. TIA Chief Executive Chief Roberts said returns are also improving, which is needed to encourage investment and refurbishment.

The average room rate across all star grades was $157, up $12 on 2014. Combined with the improved occupancy rate, this pushed the average Revenue Per Available Room (RevPar) up by $14, and 13 percent, to $124.

“For hoteliers, RevPar is a key statistic as it provides owners and investors with yield information they need to proceed with refurbishments and developments. Hotel revenues in New Zealand are still below what is being achieved in Australia and high land and construction costs in New Zealand remain a barrier. But the upward trend is encouraging,” Roberts said. TIA has identified infrastructure investment as a priority and is working with the government to identify opportunities and remove roadblocks.

“To meet the goals of Tourism 2025, it is essential that we encourage investment to improve the quality of current infrastructure to meet rising visitor expectations, as well as creating a positive environment for investment in new facilities,” Roberts said.

The tourism industry set itself a big goal with the Tourism 2025 growth framework, an industry worth $41 billion by 2025, but for 2016, it looks to be achievable. l