Queenstown tourism hits record numbers

Queenstown is becoming even more of an international tourist magnet, with more than 1.8 million international guest nights recorded in 2013 by Statistics New Zealand - a record high for the resort.

The number of domestic visitors was also on the rise, with almost 950,000 recorded as having stayed in the town in 2013.

Statistics New Zealand released its Commercial Accommodation Monitor figures yesterday. The figures span hotels, motels, backpacker hostels and caravan and camping grounds.

In total the figures show Queenstown's guest nights rose by 8.4 per cent to a record high of 2,756,149. From January 2013 every month recorded an increase over the previous year.

International guest nights jumped 10.1 per cent to 1,807,837, accounting for 65.6 per cent of all guest nights in the Queenstown regional tourism office area, which is separate to Wanaka. Domestic guest nights jumped 5.2 per cent to 948,312, accounting for 34.4 per cent of total guest nights for the year.

In breaking down the figures, Statistics New Zealand found the motel sector had an increase of 12.9 per cent, with hotel guest nights climbing 9.4 per cent.

Destination Queenstown chief executive officer Graham Budd was delighted to see such consistently climbing guest night numbers.

"Achieving a record year-end result in December 2013 is very satisfying and it's great to see consistent growth - our challenge now is to continue that momentum through 2014," he said.

"It is also encouraging to see length of stay increasing as that is directly in line with Destination Queenstown's strategy of attracting longer staying visitors."

However, the huge rise of homestay sites like airbnb, which presently shows 185 private residences to stay in Queenstown, starting from $65 per night, needed to be considered in the mix because they would be missed in the Commercial Accommodation Monitor results, Mr Budd said.

"It's quite correct that the CAM does not capture the important home stay, B&B and boutique accommodation sector and as a result the CAM does under-represent the actual numbers staying in all accommodation."

When taken into account, the numbers of total visitors were likely much higher than the latest statistics represented.

". . . the recent results to December 2013 do illustrate a very robust picture."

The Southland Times