Bay hotels and motels keep busySave
By Angela Woods
The number of tourists staying overnight in Hawke's Bay has risen yet again.
Guest nights in local accommodation increased by 6.9 per cent across Hawke's Bay in January, compared to the same month in 2016, according to Statistics New Zealand data.
The largest rise in the region was 8.8 per cent in Napier.
Nights spent in Hastings accommodation increased by 5.7 per cent, although occupancy was up 37.2 per cent.
These figures were tallied even before such huge crowd pullers such as Te Matatini and Horse of the Year.
Frimley Lodge motelier Gareth Mumitich said more people were visiting the region over summer for events such as the Art Deco festival in Napier and the Weetbix TRYathlon in Hastings.
"People also come for Splash Planet," he added.
Most of Mr Mumitich's guests at the Hastings motel were New Zealanders, who spent fewer nights in short-term accommodation at a national level.
Guest nights were down 2.7 per cent among domestic travellers, but the number of international guests went up.
Throughout New Zealand, there was an average increase of just 1.1 per cent compared to January 2016.
More than 37,000 more international visitors arrived in the country in January this year than in the same month in 2016.
In some regions, the number of international visitors failed to offset the fall in domestic guests.
Auckland, Wellington and Canterbury had fewer guest nights spent there than in January last year.
The wider Hawke's Bay-Gisborne region had the highest guest increase in New Zealand, of 8.8 per cent.
The "house full" signs were out across region in February as visitors flowed in for the Te Matatini kapa haka festival.
Guest nights rose by a huge 10.8 per cent in Hawke's Bay in December, and 20.4 per cent in November.
Mr Mumitich said he had certainly noticed the increase in guests in recent months.
"It's picked up quite a bit."
Retail spending among international visitors was also up in Hawke's Bay in recent months.
Spending on foreign-issued cards rose 6.5 per cent in the region between November 2016 and February 2017, according to Paymark data.