The tourism boom is extending to the regions with Nelson Airport handling a record number of passengers in December and predicting further growth in coming months.
There were with 99,464 passengers through the airport in December, the highest number to date, and up 6 percent on December 2016, says chief executive Rob Evans.
Passenger growth from Auckland was up 8.5 percent, from Wellington up 2.8 percent and from Christchurch up 5.9 percent.
Mr Evans said March was usually the airport’s busiest month so the airport should reach 100,000 passengers a month in the next few months.
Air New Zealand had a record month in Nelson in December, achieving 5 percent growth from the previous year.
Nelson is also Jetstar’s busiest regional destination.
Increasing global mobility and connectivity and the strengthening global backdrop remain key drivers in New Zealand’s tourism boom, ASB said after visitor figures for November were released in December.
Short-term visitor arrivals surged a further 2.5 percent month-on-month on a seasonally-adjusted basis in November, which followed the 2.1 percent rise in October.
Annual short-term visitor arrivals hit another new record high of 3.73 million persons.
“The allure of New Zealand as a tourism destination remains high, but a lower NZ dollar would help to boost tourism receipts and encourage more domestic tourism,” ASB said.
Auckland Airport has said December and January are the busiest months of the year with international passenger numbers expected to be about 6 percent higher than last summer.
It expected about 37,500 passengers to use its international terminal on each of the 10 busiest days the summer.