Kiwis searching for sunshine and Asians celebrating Chinese New Year boosted visitors numbers to Queenstown in January.
The resort saw visitor numbers increase for the third consecutive month.
Guest nights were up 7.2 per cent compared with last January, against a national average decrease of 4.2 per cent.
Destination Queenstown CEO Tony Everitt says: “The surge in Asian visitors we saw over Chinese New Year almost offsets the falls from our traditional markets like the UK and Europe which are still experiencing challenging economic conditions.
“It was great to see our local businesses embrace Chinese New Year and look for opportunities to attract Asian visitors and make them feel welcome.”
But Everitt says the earlier timing of Chinese New Year could impact on February’s figures.
Double digit growth in domestic visitors continued, with the Commercial Accommodation Monitor showing a 29 per cent increase on last January.
“People have been coming from all over New Zealand to get outdoors and enjoy the sunshine with their loved ones and friends,” Everitt says.
“We have seen a significant increase in Wellingtonians this summer thanks to Jetstar’s new Wellington-Queenstown direct jet service.”
The domestic increase follows on from 25 per cent and 36 per cent rises in November and December.
Queenstown NZ Hotel Council chairperson Penny Clark says the wall to wall sunshine has been a great draw for visitors over the summer holiday break.
“Many people were here on planned holidays but we also picked up short lead bookings with people from around the country escaping the unsettled weather and gravitating towards the sunshine.
“January was supported by some strong conference and incentive business around the town as well.”