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NZ guest nights fall in Feb snapping run

NZN 12/04/2017 Tina Morrison

National guest nights fell in February, bucking eight straight months of growth, as a slide in domestic stays offset growth from international guests.

Total guest nights dropped 0.4 per cent to 3.9 million in February compared with the same month a year earlier, Statistics New Zealand said.

Domestic guest nights fell 1.6 per cent to 1.986 million while international guest nights advanced 0.8 per cent to 1.963 million, the agency said. It noted that last February had an extra day of trading as 2016 was a leap year.

New Zealand's accommodation sector has been on a tear, with February's decline only the fourth recorded for any month over the past four years.

The government's tourism marketing body Tourism New Zealand has stopped advertising the country as a destination during the peak summer months of December through February amid concerns the country's infrastructure is reaching capacity.

The latest data shows guest nights in the North Island advanced 1 per cent, while South Island guest nights declined 2.2 per cent.

Stats NZ noted that falls in the South Island and Canterbury were impacted by fewer stays in Kaikoura, where guest nights were down 51 per cent following the impact of the November earthquakes.

Overall, guest nights were higher in half of the 12 regional areas in February compared with the year earlier month.

Northland recorded the biggest gain, with a 10.5 per cent increase, while the biggest falls were in Wellington and the West Coast, both down 5.5 per cent, and Canterbury, down 3.5 per cent.

Guest nights fell for three of four accommodation types in February. Hotels dropped 0.8 per cent, motels fell 2.2 per cent, and backpackers slid 0.1 per cent. Holiday parks bucked the trend, up 2.5 per cent.

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