Boom season in Nelson for tourism
Nelson's tourism businesses have had a boom summer, judging by statistics gathered by Tourism Nelson.
Just-released figures from the monthly commercial accommodation monitoring survey for Tourism Nelson show that December saw a 4 percent increase in the region's "guest nights" as well as in the number of beds available for visitors.
And Tourism Nelson chief executive Paul Davis said anecdotal evidence showed the strong demand continued throughout January and February, with indications that this month would be the busiest February ever.
He saw various factors contributing to the strong demand, including the traditional influx of holidaymakers especially from Canterbury; marketing efforts to promote Nelson in the North Island and overseas as a "boutique visitor destination"; the New Year's Eve dance party the Gathering; and the visit of the Nieuw Amsterdam cruise ship.
The December figures showed that the region's overall accommodation capacity increased 4 percent compared with December 1997; overall occupancy increased from 32.9 to 33.6 percent while the national occupancy rate dropped slightly for the same period from 33 to 32.9 percent.
The 4 percent increase in the number of "guest nights" for December took these to 126,727 while the average length of stay was 2.6 nights, the same as December 1997.
Mr Davis said shops, craft outlets and wineries throughout the region had reported high sales over the summer and city retailers estimated sales for the peak holiday period to be up 12 to 18 percent.