December visitor nights set a record of 264,049

Queenstown's December guest nights hit an all-time high, according to Statistics New Zealand's latest research.

The Commercial Accommodation Monitor total visitor nights for the month of December showed an increase of 9.6%, to 264,049, when compared with December 2011. The previous record for December visitor nights was in 2011, at 240,880.

International guest nights were up 9.4%, to 177,572, accounting for 67.2% of all guest nights in the Queenstown area, while domestic guest nights were up 10.1%, to 86,477 for the same period.

Motels/apartments and hotels were the key sectors to benefit, with 21.1% and 16.7% increases respectively in visitor nights.

A year-on-year comparison ending December 2012 showed overall guest nights were up 5.8% to 2,543,499, with a 2.7% increase in international guest nights and an 11.8% increase in domestic guest nights.

Destination Queenstown chief executive Graham Budd was delighted with the result.

''As we all know, our visitor mix is creating new dynamics that we all need to adapt to.

''Holiday park numbers have declined in December while hotel and motel guest nights have driven the growth.

''Achieving a record full year result in 2012 is satisfying.

''Our challenge is to continue to build on that and gain growth across all sectors of the visitor economy in Queenstown.''