New Zealand guest nights rose in May at their fastest pace in two years, fuelled by a rebound in both domestic and international travellers and a lift in South Island and hotel park stays.

Seasonally adjusted guest nights advanced 2.6 per cent in May from April, the fastest pace since May 2013's 8.4 per cent gain and snapping the previous month's 0.6 per cent decline, according to Statistics New Zealand.

Stays in holiday parks jumped 5.2 per cent, while backpacker nights climbed 3.4 per cent, motels advanced 2.2 per cent and hotel stays rose 1.3 per cent.

Domestic guests increased 2.6 per cent in the month, from a drop of 0.3 per cent the previous month, while international guests rose 3 per cent from the previous month's 0.1 per cent fall.

Guest nights in the North Island rose for the fourth consecutive month up 2.4 per cent, while South Island stays increased 3.3 per cent, snapping April's 0.6 per cent decline.

On an annual basis, national guest nights in May climbed 5.5 per cent compared to the same month a year earlier, the agency said.

That was due to increased South Island guest nights, which were up 8.5 per cent in May from a year earlier, and a 3.9 per cent gain in North Island guest nights.

International stays rose 12 per cent, the biggest gain since May 2013, and domestic guest nights increased at a more modest 2.3 per cent.

"As in the previous three months, most of the rise for May was from international guest nights," business indicators Neil Kelly said.

"Two-thirds of the increase in international guest nights occurred in the South Island."

Total capacity in short-term accommodation rose 0.1 per cent in May compared to the same month the previous year, snapping eight months of declines.

Occupancy rate increased to 34.3 per cent from 32.8 per cent in the same month a year earlier.

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