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NZ guest nights drop in March

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 10/05/2017 Tina Morrison

New Zealand national guest nights dropped in March, as the busy Easter holiday period fell in April this year.

Total guest nights declined 3.1 per cent to 3.87 million in March compared with the same month a year earlier, Statistics New Zealand said.

Domestic guest nights fell 5.6 per cent to 2.03 million while international guest nights were unchanged at 1.84 million, the agency said.

Stats NZ noted that Easter fell in March last year, boosting the accommodation sector that month, however it fell in April this year, which weighed on the latest March figures.

The data show guest nights in the North Island fell 1.3 per cent, while South Island guest nights declined 5.4 per cent.

Overall, guest nights were lower in nine of the 12 regional areas in March compared with the year earlier month.

Northland recorded the largest decline, with a 12 per cent fall, followed by Canterbury which dropped 9.1 per cent, partly driven by a 52 per cent decline in Kaikoura due to the November 2016 earthquake.

Wellington recorded the greatest percentage increase, up 2.6 per cent.

Guest nights fell for three of four accommodation types in March.

Holiday parks dropped 16 per cent, motels fell 1.1 per cent, and backpackers slid 0.2 per cent. Hotels bucked the trend, up 2.8 per cent.

The occupancy rate increased for three of four accommodation types, with hotels up 3.7 percentage points to 80.5 per cent, motels advancing 2.5 percentage points to 72.7 per cent, and backpackers ahead 0.8 percentage points to 56.7 per cent.

Holiday parks fell 1.4 percentage points to 23.5 per cent.

Tourism is the country's largest export earner, which has helped lift national guest nights 3.2 per cent in the year to the end of March.

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