Hotels, holiday parks lead Jan growth as guest nights near 5m

Hotels and holiday parks reported the biggest growth in January as guest nights in short term accommodation across the country reached a record 4.97 million, up 1.4% on the same month last year.

Hotels were up 6% to 1.39 million guest nights and holiday parks grew 3.2% to 1.68 million with both industries driven by international visitors, according to Stats NZ’s latest accommodation survey.

International guest nights across the country rose 3.1% to 2.12 million but domestic was flat, up just 0.2% to 2.85 million.

January was typically the height of New Zealand’s peak season for operators when record results were usually reported, said Stats NZ’s accommodation statistics manager, Melissa McKenzie.

“International guest nights also reached their highest-ever level in January, even as international visitor arrivals dipped slightly in the month. This may be because some people who arrived in 2017 stayed on in January,” said McKenzie.

However, motels and backpackers dipped during the month with the former down 3.4% to 1.32 million and the latter falling 2.3% to 0.58 million compared to January 2017.

Motels benefited from record international guests, but had fewer Kiwis stay in January. Both international and domestic guest nights dropped in backpacker accommodation.

In the year ended January 2018, 39.53 million guest nights were spent in short-term commercial accommodation, 2.5% more than the previous January year and more than any other 12-month period, said Stats NZ.

“Over the same period, international visitor arrivals numbered 3.73 million, 5% up on the January year before. New Zealand residents took 2.87 million trips overseas, up 9%.”

Guest nights were up in 9 of New Zealand’s 12 regions with the largest increase in Canterbury, up 10.5% to 661,000 for the month, mainly due to the recovery from the effects of the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake.

The Nelson/Marlborough/Tasman region showed the largest fall, down 7.4% to 379,000.

Stats NZ said the seasonally adjusted guest nights in January fell 2.5% from December 2017 but the trend for New Zealand guest nights continued to increase.

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