Waitaki is proving to be a magnet for international tourists with the region yet again bucking a national trend with an increase in visitors.
Statistics New Zealand figures showed that in Waitaki there were 304,455 visitor nights in 2012 compared with 289,973 in the previous year - an increase of 5 per cent.
Tourism Waitaki general manager Joel Coatsworth said Tourism Waitaki performed particularly well in December - up in all areas for the month.
Guest nights increased by 12 per cent, international guest numbers were up by 2.5 per cent, domestic guest numbers were up by 17 per cent, occupancy was at 45 per cent and the response rate was up 78 per cent.
Waitaki was one of only four South Island regions to record an increase in international bed nights in 2012.
Nearby, the Mackenzie District saw the biggest increase in the South Island at 8.7 per cent, followed by Queenstown at 2.7 per cent, then Waitaki with 2.2 per cent.
Two of the biggest drops were Dunedin and Southland, with international bed nights dropping 20.7 per cent and 15.5 per cent respectively.
In December 2012, compared with December 2011, there was an increase of 12.4 per cent in total guest nights for the Waitaki Regional Tourism Organisation (RTO) area. Holiday parks had the largest increase, followed by hotels. Backpackers had the only decrease.
In December 2012, international guests accounted for 26.7 per cent of all guest nights in the Waitaki RTO area.
Mr Coatsworth said the development of new products in the region was contributing to the increase in tourist numbers.
New products, such as Alps 2 Ocean, Steampunk HQ and Omarama Hot Tubs were starting to reach an international standard, he said.
He also credited an increase to his "passionate and hard working staff".
"The last three months have been up and January and February will be much the same," he said.
In a volatile market, Tourism Waitaki had performed well as one of the lesser funded Regional Tourism Organisations in the South Island, he said.
Tourism Waitaki would be continuing its push to promote the region.
"There are a lot of products in the region and we need to extend that product so people know how much there is to see and do here," Mr Coatsworth said.
Tourism Waitaki has also started an alliance with Dunedin and Southland tourism organisations.