The Tairāwhiti tourism industry is beginning to turn over a new leaf, with the latest data showing a significant increase in guest nights in the accommodation sector.

In February 2024, there was a 93 per cent surge in guest nights compared to the same period in 2023, which was affected by Cyclone Gabrielle. Occupancy rates also increased across all types of accommodation, with commercial accommodation rates rising by 17 per cent to 44 per cent and short-term rental rates increasing by 2 per cent to 66 per cent. Short-term rentals peaked at 81 per cent on 19 February.

The tourism industry in the Tairāwhiti region also saw a moderate growth in employment (+6 per cent) and a significant rise in employment earnings (+20 per cent).

Visitor numbers from domestic and international markets experienced strong growth in guest nights, with domestic recovery being more robust (+96 per cent) compared to international (+78 per cent). 

International visitor arrivals to New Zealand have also significantly recovered compared to pre-pandemic levels (February 2020), highlighting the growing appeal of New Zealand as a travel destination. Total international visitors to New Zealand reached 97 per cent of 2020 figures. All key markets achieved at least 70 per cent recovery compared to February 2020 arrivals, with China (757 per cent) and the US (106 per cent) exceeding pre-pandemic arrival numbers. Other markets, such as Canada (79 per cent), Singapore (91 per cent), Korea (87 per cent), and India (86 per cent), have also shown a strong recovery. Our closest neighbour, Australia, maintains a steady recovery at 81 per cent.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE) has decided to bring back Tourism Electronic Card Transactions (TECT) data as an interim measure until Merchant-Reported Transaction Exclusions (MRTEs) are fully functional (estimated 6-8 weeks). However, TECT data should only be used to monitor trends rather than rely on absolute spending numbers, as it only reflects card transactions.

Overall, these figures paint a positive picture of the tourism industry in New Zealand and a robust recovery and resilience in the Tairāwhiti tourism sector. We're excited to see this positive momentum continue.


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