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March guest nights lack last Easter’s lift

14 May 2019

Total guest nights spent in hotels, motels, backpackers, and holiday parks fell 4.0 percent in March 2019 compared with a busy March 2018, due to the timing of Easter, Stats NZ said today.

“Guest nights fell across the country in March this year compared with last year, when Easter occurred partly in March,” accommodation statistics manager Melissa McKenzie said.

March 2019 guest night numbers were 3.7 percent higher than March 2017, a more comparable month as Easter was in mid-April in 2017.

Both international and domestic guests spent fewer nights in commercial accommodation in March 2019 compared with March 2018, down 5.7 percent and 2.5 percent respectively.

The timing of Easter also impacted international visitor arrivals. See Visitor arrivals dip down in March.

March’s monthly numbers may also have been affected by events in the South Island. The Nelson area was battling significant fires during February into early March, Christchurch guest nights may have been impacted by the mosque attacks of 15 March, and flooding on the West Coast caused road and bridge closures from 26 March.

When the movement of the Easter holiday and other seasonal factors are accounted for, total guest nights rose 1.2 percent in March 2019 from February 2019.

Annual guest nights rose 0.6 percent for the year ended March 2019, compared with the March 2018 year. This was the smallest annual increase since 2013. Annual guest night growth peaked at 6.5 percent in the year ended November 2016.

The accommodation survey collects data for guests staying in short-term commercial accommodation such as hotels, motels, backpackers, and holiday parks. Hosted and private accommodation, such as bed and breakfasts, and holiday homes, are excluded.

The Government Statistician authorises all statistics and data we publish.

For more information about these statistics:
• Visit Accommodation survey: March 2019


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