Guest nights rise at 'modest' 1.4% pace in July

Nine of the country's 12 regional areas reported more guest nights.

New Zealand national guest nights rose at a "modest" pace in July, aided by the tail end of the Lions rugby tour.

Total guest nights climbed 1.4 percent to 2.67 million in July this year compared with July last year, which had jumped 6.9 percent to set a new record for the month, Statistics New Zealand said. Domestic guest nights gained 1.2 percent to 1.65 million while international guest nights rose 1.7 percent to 1.02 million, the agency said.

July's growth rate is slower than June's 6.7 percent pace, which was bolstered by an influx of tourists for the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand, which began June 3. The month of July caught the tail end of the Lions rugby tour with matches in Wellington and Auckland following eight matches in June.

"The effect of the Lions tour on international guest nights hasn't been as visible in July as it was in June," accommodation statistics manager Melissa McKenzie said. "As July last year was especially busy we didn't see as large an increase as we otherwise could have."

Nine of the country's 12 regional areas reported more guest nights. The Bay of Plenty region led the increase, with guest nights up 5.4 percent to 270,000, followed by Canterbury which gained 2.8 percent to 354,000, and Taranaki, Manawatu, Wanganui, which increased 5.3 percent to 153,000.

Hotel guest nights increased 1.6 percent 1.1 million, with motel nights up 2.4 percent to 910,000 and holiday park stays up 2.6 percent to 336,000. Backpacker stays bucked the trend, down 2.9 percent to 330,000.

The hotel occupancy rate lifted 1.7 percent to 64.1 percent, while the motel rate increased 1.6 percent to 52.8 percent, and the holiday park rate edged up 0.1 percent to 11 percent. Meanwhile the backpacker rate slipped 0.3 percent to 35.4 percent.