A Tourism Ministry study released through Nigel Coventry Editor of the Inside Tourism travel industry website says Australia the biggest tourism market for both the North and South Islands keeps NZ tourism bubbling.
Australians make up (35 percent of all North Island visitors and 36 percent in the South Island).
Tourism New Zealand says arrivals from Australia rose 1.8 per cent in November, offsetting sharp declines in arrivals from most major Asian markets. Overall, arrivals from Europe held reasonably steady, down 2.4 per cent.
"The arrivals figures for November are very much in line with expectations and again show the importance of the Australian market in the current economic climate," Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive George Hickton said.
Maori dancers. Courtesy Tourism Bay of Plenty
The Ministry study says after Australians the tourism visitor to the North Island numbers are-
UK (13 percent), US (eight percent), China (six percent), Japan(five percent), South Korea (four percent) and Germany(three percent) - a similar proportion to total New Zealandarrivals.
In the South Island the tourism visitor percentages are UK (16 percent), US (11 percent), Japan (six percent), Germany (four percent),South Korea (four percent) and Canada (two percent).
The Ministry points out that although China is New Zealand's fourth biggest market, it only accounts for one percent of international visitors to the South Island.
Seasonal influences are in play too although the North Island gets more people, more destinations are visited in the South Island per person.
On average, each South Island visitor takes 7.4 trip legswithin the South, as opposed to 4.6 trip legs within theNorth.
The North Islands share of guest nights increases in the winter months, where in June its share increased to 63 percent.
Alternatively, the South Islands share of guest nights increases in the summer months, where in February 2008 45 percent of all guest nights were spent in the South Island.
Courtesy Tourism Bay of Plenty
Tourism in New Zealand's North Island is forecast to increase at a greater rate than the South Island between 2007 and 2014,according to the Tourism Ministry.
It says overnight visits are forecast to increase by an averageof 3.9 a year in the North Island (27.4 percent in total) andthree percent a year in the South Island (21 percent in total).
Day visits are forecast to increase by an average 3.8 percenta year in the North Island (26.6 percent in total) and 2.9 percent in the South Island (20.2 percent in total).
Total visits are forecast to increase by an average 3.9 percent a year in the North Island (27.2 percent in total)and three percent in the South Island (20.8 percent in total).
Visitor nights are expected to increase by an average 3.9 percent each year in the North Island (27.6 percent intotal) and three percent in the Mainland (20.8 percent intotal).
The Ministry says that of all the international visitorsto New Zealand aged 15 years or older, 1.81 million visited the North Island in the year to September 2007,compared with 1.01 million who went to the South island.
City of Auckland. GoSeeNZ pic
The larger number of North Island visitors is reflected by the majority of international travellers arriving and departing via Auckland International Airport.
When it comes to purpose of visit, the North Island received 4.2 times more business travellers, 3.2 times more VFR and 1.2 times more holidaymakers than the South Island.
This shows the prominence the North Island has for the Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR) and business markets, with larger resident populations and main business centres, it said.
Guest nights for both Islands have been for the most part increasing since 2000.
In the years ended October 2001 to October 2008, the South Island experienced a higheraverage annual growth rate (4.1 percent) than the North Island (3.3 percent) compared to a national average of 3.6 percent over the same period.
Both Islands experience a distinct seasonality of guest nights. In 2008, the peak month of January saw the North Island have 2.56 million guest nights, while the South Island had 1.90 million. In the same year, June guest nights dropped to 1.08 million in the North Island and 0.63 million in the South Island.
A geyser blast off at Rotorua GoSeeNZ pic -s
When it comes to occupancy rates in the year ended October, the average New Zealand occupancy rate was 37.7 percent, down 0.3 of a percentage point on the previous year.
For the same period, commercial accommodation in the North Island had an average occupancy rate of 38.8 percent(down 0.3 point) and the South Island had an average of 36.2 percent (down 0.4 of a percentage point).
The Ministry notes that for the past four years, the average North Island occupancy has exceeded the South Islands, by about two percentage points.
Each island has seasonal patterns in occupancy, with highest occupancy in the summer months - with a peak in February - and lower occupancy in the winter months (lowest in June).
The South Island experiences greater variance in occupancy between these two times of year.
For the past two years, the only time of the year the South Islands average occupancy exceeds that of the North Island is in summer, where last February it was 1.8 percentage points greater.