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NZ guest nights drag down in February

Thursday 12th April 2012

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New Zealand’s hotels and motels extended their run of falling guest nights after the number of foreign visitors fell in February.

Total guest nights fell 2 percent to 3.2 million in February from the same month a year earlier, Statistics New Zealand said. The bulk of that decline came with an 11 percent slump in international visitors staying at local lodgings, to 1.4 million guest nights.

That was in a month when the number of short-term arrivals fell 3.4 percent, with fewer Chinese visitors due to the timing of the Lunar New Year. Domestic guest nights climbed 7 percent to 1.8 million.

“Although domestic guest nights rose in most regions, particularly in the upper North Island, the rises weren't enough to offset the fall in international guest nights,” acting industry and labour statistics manager Clara Eatherley said in a statement.

Hotels bore the brunt of the fall in foreign visitors, reporting a 7.9 percent decline in guest nights to 995,000, followed by a 3.5 percent fall in guest nights at backpackers to 453,000. Motels, motor inns and apartments fared better, with a 0.1 percent decline to 1 million guest nights, while guest nights at holiday parks rose 5.3 percent to 726,000.

Statistics NZ said the national trend for guest nights “appears to be slowly falling, but several more months of data are needed before this can be confirmed.”

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