West Coast Destination Insights

Our latest Insights provider, follow the link below to delve deeper in to the underlaying data of visitation, visitor spending, accommodation and more.


January 2024 - the second month of the festive season - painted a good picture for tourism in the West Coast, with a moderate increase in overnight visitation (guest nights: +4% vs. Jan ‘23), and a moderate to high occupancy rate in the accommodation sector (commercial accommodation: 60%, short-term rentals: 76%).

The total increase of overnight stays in the West Coast was primarily driven by a significant increase in international guest nights (+42% vs. Jan ‘23). This trend significantly outperforms the national trend (+20% vs. Jan ‘23) which aligns with the overall increase of international arrivals at New Zealand borders this month (border arrivals by international passport holders: +25% vs. Jan ‘23).

In contrast, domestic guest nights witnessed a considerable decline (-11% vs. Jan ‘23) a trend that was also observed at the national scale, although at a significantly lower extent (-2% vs. Jan ‘23).The lower activity in the domestic market may be partly attributed to a reduced pool of potential domestic travellers, as more Kiwis opted for overseas travel this month (border departures by NZ passport holders: +21% vs. Jan ‘23).

The average occupancy rate of 60% in commercial accommodation and 70% in short-term rentals, suggests a stable level of demand.

Distribution across districts were relatively consistent, with Westland District at 63%, Grey District at 61%, and Buller at 54%, indicating a similar level of demand and utilisation of commercial accommodation facilities across the region. Westland District stands out among other districts, showing the highest level of activity with leading guest nights and arrivals.

It is notable that occupancy in short-term rentals on the West Coast remained on par with last year (-1%pt. vs. Jan ‘23), while the national trend experienced a significant decrease (-8%pt. vs. Jan ‘23).

The moderate increase in tourism activity was reflected by a considerable growth in tourism employment (filled jobs: +8%, employment earnings: +38%). Filled jobs increased by +18% in ‘Transportation’ and by +10% in the ‘Accommodation and Food & Beverage’ sector (vs. Jan ‘23).

As expected, daily activity was high at the beginning of the month due to New Year's celebrations, but decreased towards the end of the month as shown by short-term rental occupancy from 93% to 61%,which is still considerably high.