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.


Data for March 2024, marking the start of Autumn, portrayed an overall positive trend for the West Coast region with significant increase in tourism activity in the accommodation sector (guest nights: +5% vs. March ‘23) and selected tourism industries (filled jobs: +9% vs. March ‘23). At the national level, border arrivals further emphasised tourism growth (Overall NZ: +21% vs. March ‘23).

The accommodation sector showed strong performance with considerably high occupancy rates for off-season (Commercial Accommodation: 63%, Short-term rentals: 73%). These rates reflect a +4%pt and +3%pt increase respectively, compared to March 2023. The impact of this growth is also seen in select tourism employment with similar growth observed, specifically in the ‘Accommodation and Food & Beverages’ services sector (Filled jobs: +8% vs. March ‘23, Employment earnings: +3% vs. March ‘23).

Total guest nights in commercial accommodation surged to 173k in which international visitors showed dominance in night stays with 100k surpassing the 73k night stays by domestic visitors. International guest nights increased (+19% vs. March ‘23), indicating a substantial increase in international visitation to the region. In comparison to other regions in the Central South Island, West Coast ranked as the third highest in year-to-date total guest nights, achieving a 20% year-on-year increase.

At the sub-regional level, Westland District witnessed the most significant increase in activity in the commercial accommodation sector (guest nights: +6% and guest arrivals: +11% vs. March ‘23) along with having the highest occupancy rates (Commercial Accommodation: 66% and Short-term rentals: 82%).

In select tourism industries, ‘Transport Services’ in the West Coast experienced a significant boost, with employment earnings surging by +83% compared to March 2023. Additionally, this industry saw the highest growth in filled jobs (+32% vs. March ’23). When compared to other regions in the Central South Island, West Coast ranked second in year-to-date employment earnings growth, achieving a +25% increase year-on-year.

As expected, daily short-term rental occupancy reached high levels towards the end of the month, largely attributed to the ‘Easter Holiday’ on March 31st. The peak occupancy of 92% was recorded on March 30th, the day preceding the public holiday. The second highest peak was observed on the 9th of March 2023 (90%), on Taranaki Anniversary weekend.