South Island attracts the guests
South Island hotels and holiday parks had a ripper February, with guest nights up more than 6 per cent.
Statistics NZ figures show total national guest nights were up 2.4 per cent in February, with the trend in visitors hitting a record high.
But while guest numbers were up 6.3 per cent in the South Island, they were down 0.3 per cent in the North Island.
Guest nights were up across the board, but especially for holiday parks, up 3.9 per cent, and hotels up 2.4 per cent.
"Guest night trends are consistently rising," Statistics NZ business indicators manager Neil Kelly said. "Most regions are showing positive movements for February."
While the South Island guest nights jumped sharply in February and has been trending up since the middle of 2012, the trend for North Island guest nights is at a record high.
Wellington guest nights in February were up just 2.7 per cent on the same month last year.
The New Zealand Festival started in the last week of February and ran through to the middle of March, drawing people to the city, though guest nights were not unusually high in February.
The Rugby Sevens was also held in early February.
In contrast to Wellington's modest improvement, Canterbury was up almost 14 per cent from a year ago, the strongest rise of any region for the month.
Compared with February last year, domestic and international guest nights rose most in Auckland, Canterbury and Otago. Overall, guest nights were up 7.9 per cent from February last year.