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NZ guest nights dip in July, ending two months of gains

BUSINESSDESK: New Zealand guest nights fell in July, ending two months of gains, led by a fall in domestic and international guest nights.

Total guest nights fell a seasonally adjusted 8.9% to 2.5 million in July compared to June, Statistics New Zealand says. The fall came from an 11% decline in domestic guest nights to 1.5 million, while international guest nights slipped 3.8% to 1 million.

The national trend for guest nights has been generally declining since December 2009, with domestic figures "relatively flat" in 2012.

"These decreases were across all accommodation types and most regions in the country," industry and labour statistics manager Blair Cardno says.

Guest nights fell across all accommodation types, led by hotels down 11.8% to 863,000 nights. Motels slipped 8.3% to 845,000 nights, holiday parks shed 5.3% to 513,000 and backpacker accommodation fell 6.3% to 318,000 nights.

North Island guest nights were down 11.1% to 1.5 million in July, which follows a rise of 7.5% in June. Guest nights in the South Island shed 3.7% to about 1 million nights.

International guest nights were highest in Otago, largely due to the ski season, as the region includes Queenstown and Wanaka, the government department says. The largest falls were in the Bay of Plenty and Wellington.

The decline can also be attributed to a 3.4% fall in the number of short-term visitors to New Zealand to 173,500 in July, the government department's international travel and migration data shows.