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YHA New Zealand Builds On Popularity

YHA New Zealand Builds On Popularity

Christchurch, 2 April 2003 - YHA New Zealand has plans to expand two of its most popular hostels to meet demand from independent travellers.

Queenstown and Auckland are year-round destinations for visitors in New Zealand and are home to two of YHA's busiest hostels.

Assets and Property Manager at YHA New Zealand Hamish Clarke says that many of YHA's gateway hostels are operating near to capacity, and while the shoulder season used to start in March, now it is closer to the beginning of May.

"We are planning to add 100 more beds in Queenstown and 170 in Auckland, bringing the total beds at each hostel to more than 250, and 500 respectively.

"Adventure knows no seasons - and so there is a corresponding demand for a place to stay, relax and unwind afterwards. Nowhere is this truer than in Queenstown - home of year-round adventure. Our Queenstown YHA currently sleeps 150 and has high occupancy throughout the year. We are looking to develop the hostel to meet the increasing demand and are presently putting together a programme for what is one of our most heavily used hostels."

YHA is also exploring various options for more beds in central Auckland where it currently has accommodation for 330 guests housed in two hostels.

"Visitors to Auckland can now take part in adventure activities within the city limits and are spending more time in Auckland as a result.

"At this stage we are still completing a feasibility study on the options of developing the existing Auckland YHA or sourcing a new site for a bigger hostel with up to 500 beds," says Clarke. "There is always pressure for sites in Auckland's CBD so we are keeping our options open at this stage."

Despite global predictions of a tourism downturn, YHA New Zealand is experiencing strong growth, in both domestic and overseas visitors including a 10.5 percent increase in New Zealanders staying at YHA hostels. Visitor numbers from the United Kingdom are up 27 percent on last year and there are 19 percent more North Americans staying with YHA than in the 2001-2002 year.

New Zealanders accounted for over 13 percent of overnights (2002-03 figures year-to-date), guests from the United Kingdom accounted for 30 percent, and more than 10 percent of guests are from Japan.

As a not-for-profit organisation, increased guest overnights mean YHA can put more time and funds into the numerous projects it supports such as the Young Conservationists Awards and Clean Up New Zealand Day - benefiting the community.

Clarke attributes the increase in visitor overnights to the breadth of options now available at most YHA hostels.

"We can accommodate families, groups, and couples in double, twin and family rooms, many with ensuite facilities. YHA hostels are an attractive option for travellers who appreciate the flexibility of enjoying their own space while being able to socialise with others in the common areas of our hostels."

Clarke says this means visitors can stay longer and experience more of New Zealand while being assured of safe, clean and comfortable accommodation during their stay.

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