Tourism Evidence and Insights Update

Like previous years, thawing snows herald the upswelling of guest nights in regions such as Fiordland and Kaikoura, while the Clutha region sees a decline in overall guest nights.

At aggregate levels, the local tourism sector continues to see a deceleration in overall guest nights, compared to last year’s boon. Guest nights are still dominated by domestic visitors, while international visitor guest nights remain within comparable levels.

Total guest nights are still up from last year’s levels. Nationwide, core tourism accommodation providers hosted 2.7 million guest nights in September 2023, up 10 percent from the levels recorded for September 2022.

Domestic guest nights remain strong while international guest nights reach 80 percent of 2019 levels. Domestic guest nights totalled 1.9 million (70 percent of the total guest nights) in September 2023. Domestic guest nights remain higher than pre-COVID levels. International guest nights in September 2023 are 810 thousand, up 52 percent from the same month last year.

Fiordland and Kaikoura showed the strongest growth in domestic and international guest nights compared with September 2022.  In domestic guest nights, Fiordland (up 38 percent) followed by Kaikoura (up 18 percent), showed the strongest proportional growth, while Clutha (down 48 percent) showed the largest proportional decline. In international guest nights, Taranaki (up 215 percent) showed the strongest proportional increases, while Clutha (down 15 percent) had the largest decrease.

Queenstown and Auckland had the highest occupancy rates. Queenstown (69 percent) and Auckland (67 percent) RTOs recorded the highest occupancy rates.

High occupancy rates in hotels and over-20-unit motels and apartments. Of all property types, hotels had the highest occupancy rate (68 percent) in September 2023 probably due to high international visitor arrivals, followed by motels and apartments (67 percent).

The Tourism Insights Users Group (TIUG) brings the sector together quarterly to present and discuss the latest developments in the tourism research, data, and analytics space. It provides an opportunity to ask questions about these developments. The next meeting is held on 23 November 2023 from 2:00pm to 3:30pm.

The Ministry of Business, innovation and Employment will release the September 2023 MRTE data on the 23 November 2023. This will be the first time since the COVID-19 disruption. In the same release, the ministry will also include historical MRTE data from January 2019 and update the Tourism Evidence and Insights Centre (TEIC) and MBIE websites with visualisations and methodology documents. This update compares ADP data for September 2023 to September 2022 and September 2019. Due to methodological differences between the ADP and the Accommodation Survey, only aggregated volume figures, such as guest nights, are compared at the national or RTO level