More beds boost visitor stats

TESS MCCLURE
Last updated 05:00 19/01/2014
Laura McMaster
STACY SQUIRES/Fairfax NZ
BUOYANT SUMMER: Kiwi Basecamp backpackers manager Laura McMaster reflects on a busy year.

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Tourist stays in Canterbury are on the rise, with latest figures showing 40,000 more visitor nights than a year ago.

Statistics New Zealand's November visitor-night figures were released on Friday, showing a rise of 10 per cent compared to the same month in 2012.

Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism chief executive Tim Hunter said Christchurch had a "much better summer than last year", with particular growth in the global market.

He expected to finish the year with annual international visitor nights to the city up 26 per cent.

Statistics NZ said November had been a record month for international visitor numbers, with the biggest rises in Canterbury and Auckland.

Hunter said the overall rise came through a mixture of rebuild progress, growth out of China, and having 570 more beds than the same time last year.

He said accommodation was particularly stretched at the high and low ends, with not enough backpackers or large hotels that could cater to conferences and groups.

Hunter said the backpacker market was growing, and this group would find it hardest to find accommodation as they often had limited funds to pay for more expensive alternatives.

He said backpacker beds in the city were down 48 per cent from pre-quake levels. Backpackers and hotel owners reported a busy summer season.

The manager of Kiwi Basecamp, Laura McMaster, said her backpacker accommodation had been "constantly full" over summer.

The residence had a busy year overall, maintaining 80 per cent occupancy even over the quieter winter months.

McMaster said many guests were staying longer in the city, rather than passing through for a night. Many would stay for three or four nights. She attributed this to having "more going on and opened up in the city".

Other South Island centres also experienced an increase in visitor nights in November, with Otago up 11 per cent, Southland up 16 per cent, and Nelson-Marlborough up 9 per cent. 

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- The Press

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