NZ guest nights fall in February, snapping eight months of growth
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 percent to 3.9 million in February compared with the same month a year earlier, Statistics New Zealand said. Domestic guest nights fell 1.6 percent to 1.986 million while international guest nights advanced 0.8 percent 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 percent, while South Island guest nights declined 2.2 percent.
Stats NZ noted that falls in the South Island and Canterbury were impacted by fewer stays in Kaikoura, where guest nights were down 51 percent 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 percent increase, while the biggest falls were in Wellington and the West Coast, both down 5.5 percent, and Canterbury, down 3.5 percent.
Guest nights fell for three of four accommodation types in February. Hotels dropped 0.8 percent, motels fell 2.2 percent, and backpackers slid 0.1 percent. Holiday parks bucked the trend, up 2.5 percent.
The total available capacity for short-term commercial accommodation fell 0.4 percent in February, with all four accommodation types registering declines.
The occupancy rate increased for all four accommodation types, with hotels up 0.9 percent to a record 81.2 percent. Motels gained 2.2 percentage points to 77.5 percent, backpackers rose 2.4 percentage points to 59.4 percent, and holiday parks increased 2.3 percentage points to 29.6 percent.