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NZ guest nights surge 6.7 percent in March, biggest gain since July 2009

Friday 10th May 2013

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New Zealand guest nights spent in short-term commercial accommodation recorded the biggest gain in almost four years in March as both kiwis and tourists basked in the nation's long hot summer.

Guest nights rose 6.7 percent in March, the biggest monthly gains since July 2009, following a 2.4 percent gain in February, according to Statistics New Zealand. Domestic guest nights rose 8.7 percent and international gained 3.2 percent.

Guest nights in March were helped by most of Easter falling in the month, compared to the Easter holiday falling in April last year. Short-term visitors to New Zealand in March rose 13 percent from a year earlier to 270,700, a record for the month, led by Australians, Americans and British.

"Warm and dry sunny weather, early Easter and an increase in visitor arrivals contributed to the high number of guest nights," the government statistician said.

Guest nights in the North Island rose 6.5 percent to 1.7 million, seasonally adjusted, while in the South Island they rose 6.8 percent to 1.1 million.

Holiday parks recorded the biggest increase, with guest nights surging 22 percent. Backpacker guest nights rose 3.4 percent, motel guests gained 3 percent and hotel guests rose 2.7 percent.

Accommodation capacity fell 2.5 percent at holiday parks and fell 0.9 percent at motels, while hotel capacity rose 0.3 percent and backpackers climbed 3.5 percent.

Occupancy rates rose for all classes of accommodation. Holiday parks gained 4.6 percentage points, motels were up 3 points, hotels were up2.9 points and backpacker accommodation was up 0.8 points.

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