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Source: MIL-OSI Submissions

Guest nights star in Mackenzie district – Media release

14 November 2019

Relative to the size of its resident population, Mackenzie district had the most guests staying in hotels, motels, backpackers, and holiday parks per resident of any area in New Zealand in the September 2019 year, Stats NZ said today.

The sparsely populated Mackenzie district includes the tourist hotspots of Aoraki/Mount Cook and Lake Tekapo, lying approximately halfway between Christchurch and Queenstown.

“With 891,000 guest nights in the September 2019 year, Mackenzie district had 173 guest nights for  each of the estimated 5,140 residents,” accommodation statistics manager Melissa McKenzie said.

“This is even higher than other visitor hot spots, such as Queenstown-Lakes district with 111 guest nights per local a year, and Rotorua district with 31 guest nights per resident.”

“Mackenzie district guest nights grew the second-fastest of any territorial authority in New Zealand over the last 22 years. Annual guest nights in the September 2019 year were three-and-a-half times the number in the year ended June 1997,” Ms McKenzie said.

Over the 22 years that the accommodation survey has been running, Hauraki district in Waikato region grew fastest, to 131,000 guest nights, over four times the number in the June 1997 year.

Between 1996 and 2019, New Zealand’s population grew from 3.7 million to nearly 5 million; at the same time the number of visitor arrivals to New Zealand more than doubled, from 1.5 million to 3.9 million.

“The growth in Kiwis taking holidays has not only been driven by population growth, but an extra week’s annual leave starting in 2007 helped boost the number of domestic guest nights over the life of the survey. Tourist attractions like the 2011 Rugby World Cup and the interest in the scenery shown in The Lord of the Rings movies have contributed to more international guest nights,” Ms McKenzie said.

More domestic and international guests drove two milestones over the life of the accommodation survey. When the survey began in the year ended June 1997, almost 22 million guest nights were spent in short-term commercial accommodation. The number of guest nights reached 30 million in the year ended July 2004, then grew to reach 40 million in the September 2018 year.

The increase in nights spent in short-term commercial accommodation has been supported by a 15 percent increase in accommodation establishments during the length of the survey, with just over 3,000 providers surveyed in the September 2019 year.

The greatest growth in accommodation establishments over the same period was in motels and backpackers, while hotels had the highest occupancy rate of all the short-term commercial accommodation providers.

The annual occupancy rate for hotels has eased by about 1.5 percentage points since the March 2018 year, even though guest nights have been generally rising. This is due to new and refurbished hotels in Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington. These have brought national capacity back to early 2011 levels, before the Canterbury earthquakes removed a lot of hotel stock from Christchurch city.

Accommodation survey