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Early Easter sees holiday parks guest nights jump 25%

10 May 2018  By Staff Reporter

An early Easter helped lift holiday park guest nights by 25% to 950,000 in March 2018 compared to the same month last year, according to Stats NZ latest commercial accommodation survey.

Kiwis spent 135,000 more nights in holiday park accommodation and international guests spent 52,000 more nights than in March 2017. The Easter holiday fell completely in April in 2017.

Overall total guest nights in March was up 8% to 4.176 million with domestic increasing 7.5% to 2.18 million and internationals growing 8.6% to 1.996 million.

“Two days of the Easter weekend falling in March this year was the most significant driver of guest night increases when compared with March 2017,” said Stats NZ’s accommodation statistics manager Melissa McKenzie said. “Warm weather in March may have also been a factor.”

Guest nights increased for three of the four accommodation types:

  • hotels  – up 5.9% to 1,397,000
  • motels – up 4.1% to 1,269,000
  • backpackers – down 0.9% to 560,000
  • holiday parks – up 25% to 950,000, similar to March 2016 when all of Easter weekend fell in the month of March.

“Holiday park guest nights often spike and fall in the months of March and April due to the movement of Easter. This month’s increase is similar to what was seen in March 2016, when all of Easter fell in the month,” said McKenzie.

Guest nights were up in 11 of the 12 regional areas. The largest increases were in:

  • Canterbury – up 19.3% to 596,000
  • Otago – up 8.1% to 630,000
  • Bay of Plenty – up 12.3% to 400,000.

The large increase in Canterbury guest nights was boosted by recovery from the effects of the November 2016 Kaikōura earthquake, which dampened March 2017 accommodation survey results, said Stats NZ.

The only decrease was in Hawke’s Bay/Gisborne, down 3.7% in March 2018 from March 2017, to 148,000.

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