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Accommodation Survey: June 2011
Embargoed until 10:45am  –  10 August 2011

Total guest nights

Total guest nights in short-term commercial accommodation numbered 1.7 million in June 2011, up 0.3 percent from June 2010, and up 7.3 percent from June 2009. Although Canterbury had a large drop in guest nights because of the ongoing earthquakes, this was offset by a similarly large rise in Auckland guest nights.

The trend for the total number of guest nights shows a decline of 2.8 percent for the 19 months since its most recent peak in November 2009. This is a smaller decline than indicated in the Accommodation Survey: May 2011, but trend figures are subject to revision each month. Caution should be used until more data becomes available.

 Graph, Total guest nights, monthly.

Guest nights by island

North Island guest nights numbered 1.1 million in June 2011, up 5.9 percent from June 2010, and up 14 percent from June 2009.

Six of the seven North Island regions recorded more guest nights in June 2011 than in June 2010. The largest increase was in the Auckland region (up 46,000 or 13 percent), followed by Wellington (up 16,000 or 9.5 percent). This is the 11th consecutive month in which Auckland has recorded the largest rise of any national region, due largely to increases in domestic guest nights in hotels. Of the other North Island regions:

  • Waikato and Northland recorded small increases
  • numbers for Bay of Plenty and Hawke's Bay/Gisborne remained relatively unchanged
  • Taranaki/Manawatu-Wanganui was the only North Island region to record a decrease.

The trend for North Island guest nights shows a rise of 3.7 percent during the last 13 months.

 Graph, North Island guest nights, monthly.

South Island guest nights numbered 0.6 million in June 2011, down 9.0 percent from June 2010, and down 3.9 percent from June 2009.

Three of the five South Island regions had fewer guest nights in June 2011 than in the previous June, with Canterbury (down 46,000 or 17 percent) continuing to have the largest decrease. International guest nights again fell considerably in Canterbury, and there was also a small decrease in domestic guest nights. Accommodation capacity is down in Canterbury, particularly for hotels and backpacker accommodation, because of the sequence of earthquakes that began on 4 September 2010.

Otago had the second-largest decrease in guest nights of all South Island regions (down 24,000 or 10 percent). This was driven by a decrease in guest nights in Queenstown, particularly in international guest nights. This is largely due to many ski fields opening later than usual and flight disruptions to Queenstown airport due to the ash cloud caused by the eruption of Chile's Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcano.

The Nelson/Marlborough/Tasman region had the largest increase in South Island guest nights (up 10,000 or 15 percent), followed by the West Coast (up 2,000 or 4.2 percent).

The trend for South Island guest nights shows a decline of 11 percent from its most recent peak in February 2010. 

 Graph, South Island guest nights, monthly.

Origin of guests

Domestic visitors

Domestic visitors accounted for 1.2 million guest nights in June 2011. This is up 43,000 (3.8 percent) from June 2010, and up 134,000 (13 percent) from June 2009.

 Graph, Domestic guest nights by region, June 2010 and June 2011.

Compared with June 2010, domestic guest nights increased 6.5 percent in the North Island and decreased 1.8 percent in the South Island. The regions showing the largest increases in domestic guest nights were:

  • Auckland, up 32,000 (15 percent)
  • Wellington, up 9,000 (6.9 percent)
  • Waikato, up 8,000 (7.0 percent).

The region with the largest decrease in domestic guest nights was Otago (down 6,000 or 5.2 percent).

In June 2011, domestic visitors contributed 67 percent of national guest nights, 71 percent of North Island guest nights, and 60 percent of South Island guest nights.

International visitors

International visitors accounted for 0.6 million guest nights in June 2011. This is down 37,000 (6.1 percent) from June 2010, and down 16,000 (2.8 percent) from June 2009.

 Graph, International guest nights by region, June 2010 and June 2011.

Compared with June 2010, international guest nights decreased 18 percent in the South Island and increased 4.5 percent in the North Island. The regions showing the largest decreases, as shown in the graph above, were:

  • Canterbury, down 42,000 (38 percent)
  • Otago, down 18,000 (15 percent) 
  • Bay of Plenty, down 6,000 (11 percent).

The regions showing the largest increases in international guest nights were:

  • Auckland, up 14,000 (10 percent)
  • Wellington, up 7,000 (17 percent)
  • Northland, up 5,000 (26 percent). 

Comparison with short-term overseas visitor arrival statistics

Short-term overseas visitor arrivals to New Zealand numbered 131,300 in June 2011, 14,600 below the June 2010 total of 145,800, and the lowest June month total since 2003 (112,000), according to International Travel and Migration statistics. Many flights both in and out of New Zealand were cancelled in June, due to the ash cloud caused by the eruption of Chile's Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcano.

New Zealand residents departed on 192,400 short-term overseas trips in June 2011, down 6,400 (3 percent) from the 198,800 trips in 2010. Departures in June were affected by both the ash cloud from Chile's volcano and the school holidays starting later in July in 2011.

Guest nights by accommodation type

Two of the four accommodation types had more guest nights in June 2011 than in June 2010:

  • holiday parks, up 32,000 (17 percent)
  • motels, up 26,000 (4.5 percent).

Decreases were recorded for the other two accommodation types:

  • hotels, down 32,000 (4.6 percent)
  • backpackers, down 21,000 (8.0 percent).

The Canterbury region continues to be the main driver behind the national movements for each of the accommodation types. In Canterbury, motel guest nights have risen compared with the previous year for the last four months, following earthquake damage to many hotels and backpacker establishments. For June 2011 compared with June 2010, guest nights dropped by approximately 60,000 for hotels and 26,000 for backpacker accommodation. The number of motel and holiday park guest nights rose by approximately 29,000 and 11,000, respectively.

Nationally, hotels accounted for 38 percent of overall guest nights in June 2011, followed by motels (35 percent), backpacker accommodation (14 percent), and holiday parks (13 percent).

 Graph, Holiday Park guest nights, monthly.

The trend for holiday park guest nights appears to have risen since the most recent low point in September 2010. However, trend figures are subject to revision each month and caution should be used until more data becomes available.

Capacity by accommodation type

Total available capacity in short-term accommodation was 4.0 million stay unit nights in June 2011, down 3.1 percent from June 2010 and down 2.1 percent from June 2009.

Three of the four accommodation types had less capacity in June 2011 than in June 2010, with holiday parks the only accommodation type to record an increase (up 40,000 or 2.8 percent). Decreases were recorded for:

  • hotels, down 104,000 (10 percent)
  • backpackers, down 43,000 (5.4 percent)
  • motels, down 20,000 (2.3 percent).

The above decreases in capacity are primarily due to earthquakes in Canterbury, particularly the 22 February 2011 earthquake, which put numerous hotel and backpacker establishments out of operation. 

Occupancy rate

Excluding holiday parks, the occupancy rate in June 2011 was 39.7 percent, up 1.6 percentage points compared with the rate in June 2010.

Hotels had the highest occupancy rate (46 percent) in June 2011, followed by motels (41 percent), and backpacker accommodation (31 percent).

Excluding holiday parks, eight of the 12 regions had higher occupancy rates in June 2011 than in June 2010. The Wellington region had the highest occupancy rate (53 percent), followed by Auckland (52 percent), and Bay of Plenty (41 percent).

 Graph, Occupancy rate by accommodation type, June month, 2006 to 2011.

Response rates

Canterbury response rates for June 2011, as for March, April, and May 2011, were close to the national average, following significantly lower response rates in February 2011. The lower response rates in February, due to the impact on Christchurch of the 6.3 magnitude earthquake on 22 February 2011, required a higher level of imputation than normal. 


Response rates by accommodation type for June 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
Hotels 84 95 81
Motels 83 86 66
Backpackers 75 78 66
Holiday parks 76 80 66
Total 81 87 71
Response rates for Canterbury for June 2011
Total 79 86 67
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 the 'Technical notes' of 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.

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: 
Karen MacKenzie or John Gudgeon
Christchurch 03 964 8700

Next release ...

Accommodation Survey: July 2011 will be released on 12 September 2011.

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