The Bay of Plenty region saw the largest increase in guest nights in New Zealand for July, up 5.4% compared to the same month last year, according to Stats NZ.
The region was one of 9 out of 12 that showed an increase in guest nights with the largest region, Auckland, notably flat in the latest accommodation survey for the year to July.
“Bay of Plenty have specifically been targeting visitors in the off-peak season, so we are pleased to see the growth year on year,” said Kristin Dunne, chief executive of Tourism Bay of Plenty.
“In July, Tauranga hosted the Junior World Junior Squash Championships – the first ever world sporting championships to be hosted in Tauranga – that saw 28 nations converge in Tauranga for the event, which was specifically held in the traditional winter period.”
Online marketing to touring Lions rugby fans saw many tourists come to the Bay of Plenty, added Dunne.
Stats NZ said there were 39 million guest nights spent in short-term commercial accommodation in the year to July 2017, an increase of 1.3 million on the previous July year.
However, the actual month of July was relatively quiet, with a modest increase in guest nights of 1.4% to 2.67 million compared to the same month last year. Domestic guest nights were up 20,000 or 1.2% to 1.65 million and international guest nights were up 17,000 or 1.7% to 1.02 million.
July caught the tail end of the Lions rugby tour with matches in Wellington and Auckland following eight matches in June.
“The effect of the Lions tour on international guest nights hasn’t been as visible in July as it was in June,” said Stats NZ’s accommodation statistics manager Melissa McKenzie. “As July last year was especially busy we didn’t see as large an increase as we otherwise could have.”
Motels benefited the most from the increase in international guest nights. International visitors spent 13.9% more nights in motels in July 2017 than in July 2016. Motel international guest nights have now been increasing for two years when compared with the same month of the previous year, said Stats NZ.
The largest decreases in guest nights were in Waikato, down 2,000 or 0.8% to 215,000, Northland, down 2,000 or 1.7% to 91,000, and the Nelson, Marlborough, Tasman region, down 1,000 or 0.6% to 106,000.