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Accommodation Survey: February 2011
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  02 May 2011
Commentary

Total guest nights

Total guest nights in short-term commercial accommodation were 3.3 million in February 2011, down 1.5 percent from February 2010, but similar to February 2009. The fall in total guest nights in February 2011 was driven by a fall in international guest nights in the Canterbury region.

The trend for the total number of guest nights shows little movement for the latest 18 months, as shown in the graph below. The trend is down 1.4 percent from the November 2009 peak and is 2.7 percent below the highest month of November 2007.

 Graph, Total guest nights, monthly, 2005-11

Guest nights by island

North Island guest nights numbered 1.9 million in February 2011, up 1.0 percent from February 2010 and up 2.1 percent from February 2009.

The trend for North Island guest nights shows a gradual rise in recent months and is 1.4 percent above the April 2010 low point. However, this is an indication only and is yet to be confirmed.

 Graph, North Island guest nights, monthly, 2005-11

South Island guest nights numbered 1.4 million in February 2011, down 4.6 percent from February 2010 and down 2.7 percent from February 2009.

The trend for South Island guest nights continues to decline and is down 4.4 percent from the peak of January 2010.

 Graph, South Island guest nights, monthly, 2005-11

Guest nights by region

Seven of the 12 regions had fewer guest nights in February 2011 than in the previous February. Canterbury had by far the largest decrease in guest nights, due to fewer international guest nights. This is consistent with a continued decline in international guest nights after the September 2010 Canterbury earthquake and subsequent aftershocks. Otago was the only South Island region to record an increase in guest nights.

Due to the earthquake on 22 February 2011, response rates in Canterbury were significantly lower than the national response rate, requiring a higher level of imputation than normal. Figures for this region should therefore be used with caution. The response rates can be found in the 'Response rates' table in this commentary.

The main contributors to the national decrease in guest nights were:

  • Canterbury, down 76,000 (14 percent)
  • Northland, down 12,000 (6.4 percent)
  • Southland, down 11,000 (8.9 percent).

The main increases in guest nights were:

  • Auckland, up 32,000 (6.1 percent)
  • Otago, up 24,000 (5.4 percent).

This is the seventh consecutive month that Auckland has had the largest regional guest night rise compared with the same month of the previous year. These rises were due largely to more domestic guest nights in hotels.

Origin of guests

International visitors

International visitors accounted for 1.6 million guest nights in February 2011. This is a decrease of 68,000 (4.0 percent) from February 2010 but an increase of 26,000 (1.7 percent) from February 2009.

 Graph, International guest nights, by region, February 2010 and 2011

Compared with February 2010, international guest nights decreased 7.4 percent in the South Island and 0.2 percent in the North Island. The regions showing the largest decreases in international guest nights were:

  • Canterbury, down 77,000 (25 percent)
  • Northland, down 13,000 (13 percent)
  • Bay of Plenty, down 9,000 (6.7 percent)
  • Southland, down 8,000 (10 percent).

The regions showing the largest increases were:

  • Otago, up 19,000 (6.7 percent)
  • Auckland, up 8,000 (3.1 percent)
  • Taranaki/Manawatu-Wanganui, up 7,000 (20 percent).

Domestic visitors

Domestic visitors accounted for 1.7 million guest nights in February 2011. This is an increase of 17,000 (1.0 percent) from February 2010, but a decrease of 28,000 (1.6 percent) from February 2009.

 Graph, Domestic guest nights, by region, February 2010 and 2011

Compared with February 2010, domestic guest nights increased 1.9 percent in the North Island but decreased 0.4 percent in the South Island. The regions showing the largest increases in domestic guest nights were:

  • Auckland, up 24,000 (9.0 percent)
  • Otago, up 4,000 (2.9 percent).

In Canterbury, domestic guest nights were up 2,000 (0.8 percent) in February 2011.

The regions showing the largest decreases were:

  • Wellingon, down 5,000 (3.3 percent)
  • Nelson/Marlborough/Tasman, down 5,000 (4.2 percent)
  • Southland, down 3,000 (6.3 percent).

Domestic visitors in February 2011 contributed 51 percent of national guest nights, 58 percent of North Island guest nights, and 42 percent of South Island guest nights.

Comparison with short-term overseas visitor arrival statistics

Short-term overseas visitor arrivals to New Zealand numbered 268,300 in February 2011, just above the February 2010 total of 267,900, according to International Travel and Migration statistics. An increase in arrivals to visit friends and relatives after the Christchurch earthquake on 22 February contributed to the higher figure. Between 22 and 28 February 2011, 2,300 more people arrived to visit friends and relatives compared with the same days in 2010. It is not possible to say how many of these stayed in commercial accommodation in Canterbury.

Arrivals to visit friends and relatives were up 3,000 for the month of February 2011. There were also more arrivals for business (1,900) and conventions/conferences (up 1,100). Arrivals for a holiday were down 7,900 compared with February 2010, with decreases both before and after the 22 February earthquake.

New Zealand residents departed on 103,500 short-term overseas trips in February 2011, just below the 104,000 trips in February 2010.

Guest nights by accommodation type

All four accommodation types had fewer guest nights in February 2011 than in February 2010, as follows:

  • backpackers, down 16,000 (3.3 percent)
  • holiday parks, down 15,000 (2.1 percent)
  • hotels, down 10,000 (0.9 percent)
  • motels, down 10,000 (0.9 percent).

Hotels accounted for 33 percent of overall guest nights in February 2011, followed by motels (32 percent), holiday parks (21 percent), and backpacker accommodation (14 percent).

 Graph, Hotel guest nights, monthly, 2005-11

The trend for hotels continues to decline and is 2.6 percent down from the recent peak in August 2010.

 

Occupancy rate

Excluding holiday parks, the occupancy rate in February 2011 was 64 percent, down 0.4 percentage points compared with the rate in February 2010.

Hotels had the highest occupancy rate (69 percent) in February 2011, followed by motels (64 percent), and backpacker accommodation (56 percent).

Excluding holiday parks, five of the 12 regions had lower occupancy rates in February 2011 than in February 2010. The Auckland region had the highest occupancy rate (73 percent), followed by Wellington (72 percent), and Otago (69 percent).

 Graph, Occupancy rate, by accommodation type, February 2006-2011

Response rates

Response rates by accommodation type for February 2011
Accommodation type Establishments responding to questions on guest nights, guest arrivals, and stay unit nights Proportion of guest-night estimate from actual data Proportion of origin-of-guest estimate from actual data
Percentage
Hotels 80 83 69
Motels 83 86 68
Backpackers 74 81 66
Holiday parks 76 79 67
Total 80 83 68
Response rates for Canterbury for February 2011
Total 58 51 39
Source: Statistics New Zealand

 

When respondents do not answer questions in this survey, Statistics New Zealand estimates the missing information based on data from similar establishments in the same or similar regions. For more information, please see 'Technical notes' in this release or contact Statistics NZ.

Accommodation pivot tables

The Accommodation pivot tables provide more detailed information, breaking the survey variables down by regional tourism organisation areas and territorial authority areas. These tables can be downloaded from the Statistics NZ website (www.stats.govt.nz).

Survey sponsorship

The Accommodation Survey is a monthly survey undertaken by Statistics NZ and sponsored by the Ministry of Economic Development.

For technical information contact:
Ken Smart or Clara Eatherley
Wellington 04 931 4600
Email: info@stats.govt.nz

Next release ...

Accommodation Survey: March 2011 will be released on 31 May 2011.

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