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International guest nights down in February

Total guest nights in short-term commercial accommodation were 3.2 million in February 2012. This is a fall of 2.0 percent compared with February 2011, Statistics New Zealand said today. International guest nights fell, mostly in the South Island. Domestic guest nights rose, mostly in the North Island.

"International guest nights fell in all but one of the 12 regions, with the largest falls occurring in Canterbury and Otago," acting industry and labour statistics manager Clara Eatherley said. "Although domestic guest nights rose in most regions, particularly in the upper North Island, the rises weren't enough to offset the fall in international guest nights."

South Island guest nights fell 8.3 percent from February 2011, while North Island guest nights rose 2.8 percent. Canterbury recorded the largest decrease of any region, with international guest nights down following the earthquakes. The trend for South Island guest nights has been declining for the past two years.

All accommodation types, but particularly hotels, had fewer international guest nights. Available capacity continues to be affected by the Canterbury earthquakes.

The Accommodation Survey records guests staying in hotels, motels, backpacker accommodation, and holiday parks in New Zealand each month. The survey does not include visitors staying on cruise ships and in private dwellings.

For more information on monthly accommodation statistics, see the Accommodation Survey: February 2012; for visitor numbers, see International Travel and Migration.