Number of visitors up for May

Marlborough visitor numbers increased by 3.3 per cent in May, bolstered by two events, elevating the region above the national average, a survey showed.

According to the monthly Statistics New Zealand commercial accommodation monitor, there were 37,502 guest nights in Marlborough in May compared with 36,299 in May 2011.

Nationally there were 1,892,558 guest nights recorded in May, down 0.3 per cent from 1,898,174 the same time last year.

Domestic guest nights bolstered the region's increase by improving 16 per cent to 23,059, compared with 19,887 in May 2011. International guest nights were down 12 per cent to 14,443, compared with 16,412 visitors in the same month last year.

The Saint Clair Family Estate half marathon, which drew 2000 participants from around the country plus their family and friends, was held in May. The New Zealand Planning Institute Conference, which attracted more than 300 delegates for a three-day conference at the Marlborough Convention Centre, was also in May.

Backpackers recorded 7607 guest nights in May, the largest increase of all accommodation providers at 29.1 per cent, followed by motels with an 11.9 per cent increase. Holiday parks had the only decrease with 9667 guests nights, down 15.8 per cent from 11,477 in May last year.

The average length of stay rose from 1.63 nights to 1.69 nights and overall occupancy rate remained steady compared with the same time in 2011.

The monthly monitor only records guests staying in hotels, motels, backpacker accommodation and holiday park. It is not a survey of all visitors to the region.

The Marlborough Express