Guest nights down during Rugby World Cup

Not enough overseas visitors in to offset local downwards trend.

October’s increase in international visitor accommodation bookings wasn’t enough to offset a drop in domestic bookings.

This is despite school holidays being deliberately shifted to better coincide with the Rugby World Cup.

According to Statistics New Zealand’s latest accommodation survey, international visitors made 7.1% more accommodation bookings this October than last October. But New Zealanders made 6.5% fewer bookings than the same time last year, resulting in an overall 1.5% decline in booking numbers.

The North Island outperformed the South Island with a rise of 4.7%. While Otago saw a domestic guest night increase, Canterbury’s double loss of World Cup games and accommodation capacity pulled the South Island into an 11% decline on last year’s bookings.

"The Rugby World Cup lifted international guest nights in October, particularly in the North Island,” Statistics New Zealand industry and labour statistics manager Louise Holmes-Oliver said. “However, domestic guest nights were down in nearly every region.”

International guest nights were higher in nine of the 12 regions in October 2011 (compared with October 2010), particularly in Auckland, Wellington, and Waikato. With 13 of the 15 World Cup games in October being held in the North Island, this half of the country saw a 24% rise in international guest nights.

The same trend – increased international visitor accommodation bookings but decreased bookings by locals – was also visible in the September 2011 statistics.

Motels, holiday parks, and backpacker accommodation had rises in guest nights, while hotels fell. This is likely partly linked to a fall-off in business travel in the period overall.

The Statistics New Zealand accommodation survey records guests staying in hotels, motels, backpacker accommodation, and holiday parks in New Zealand each month. But the survey does not include visitors staying on cruise ships, in private dwellings, or at temporary campervan parks.

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