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International guest nights plumb 3-year low

By Paul McBeth

Aug. 14 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand's accommodation operators reported the fewest monthly international guest nights for three years in June as the tourism boom tapers off.

Statistics New Zealand's soon-to-be-defunct accommodation survey showed just 800,000 guest nights in June, down 3 percent from a year earlier. While June is traditionally a quiet month for international visitors, the decline was the seventh in a row and the lowest since June 2016.

"June is the quietest month of the year for commercial accommodation in New Zealand. Typically, guest nights pick up with the winter ski season and school holidays in July," accommodation statistics manager Melissa McKenzie said.

Today's data show international guest nights dropped to 425,000 in the North Island, down 4 percent from a year earlier, while in the South Island they were down 1.8 percent at 375,000. International guest nights at hotels dropped 3.1 percent to 343,000 nationwide, and the hotel occupancy rate was its lowest level in four years at 54.6 percent.

SkyCity Entertainment Group's operations include 635 hotel rooms. Today it noted a lack of buoyancy in economic and tourism conditions. Its flagship Auckland site reported flat non-gaming revenue in the June year as increased hotel capacity in the country's biggest city led to weaker per-room revenue.

Visitor arrivals data earlier this month showed an increase in American and Australian visitors more than offset fewer Asian tourists, who have been a key market underpinning the local industry in recent years.

Auckland International Airport this week noted a 7.1 percent increase in the number of arrivals from the US in the year ended June 30, citing new capacity on the Auckland-Chicago route and year-round service on the Auckland-San Francisco route. Arrivals from China were down 8.7 percent.

Today's data showed domestic tourism continued to expand in June, with 1.5 million guest nights for locals up 3.8 percent from a year earlier. Total monthly guest nights increased 1.3 percent to 2.3 million.

Nelson, Marlborough and Tasman reported the biggest increase, up 5.6 percent at 96,000 while West Coast guest nights dropped 7.2 percent to 52,000, their seventh straight decline. Auckland attracted the most guest nights at 508,000, up 3.8 percent from a year earlier. Otago - which includes the Queenstown-Lakes district - fell 2.4 percent to 330,000 in its sixth monthly decline.


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