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Quake hit Canterbury key factor in guest night fall

Monday 2nd May 2011

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National guest night numbers fell 1.5% in February from a year earlier, driven by a sharp fall in Canterbury which was hit by a devastating earthquake.

Figures from Statistics New Zealand (SNZ) today put the number of guest nights in short term commercial accommodation nationwide in February at 3.3 million. While down 1.5% from a year earlier, the figure was similar to February 2009.

The number of guest nights by international visitors fell 4% in February to 1.6m for the country as a whole. Canterbury, where the fatal earthquake struck on February 22, recorded a fall of 25% or 77,000 guest nights. Northland was down 13,000 or 13% in international guest nights, while Otago was up 19,000 or 6.7%.

Guest nights by domestic visitors were up 1% to 1.7m nationwide, with Auckland up 24,000 or 9%.

SNZ noted that figures for Canterbury should be used with caution, as response rates in the region were significantly lower than the national response rate, due to the earthquake, requiring a higher level of imputation.

Guest nights in backpacker accommodation were down 16,000 or 3.3% in February from a year earlier, holiday parks had a fall of 15,000 or 2.1%, while hotels and motels both dropped 0.9% or 10,000.

The occupancy rate in February was 64%, excluding holiday parks. That was down 0.4 percentage points from a year earlier.



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