New Zealand guest nights fell in May, snapping 25 consecutive months of rises, as fewer domestic guest nights offset a gain in international stays.
National guest nights declined 0.4 per cent to 2.3 million in May from the same month a year earlier, which was a record for the month, Statistics New Zealand said. Domestic guest nights dropped 6.4 per cent in the latest month, while international guest nights jumped 9.7 per cent, the statistics agency said.
The country's accommodation sector has been on a tear as record tourism pushes up demand for beds. However, that's softened in the latest data, with seven of the 12 regional areas experiencing fewer guest nights.
Guest nights spent in the North Island slipped 1.2 per cent to 1.5 million in May, while South Island guest nights advanced 1 per cent to 873,000.
The Taranaki, Manawatu-Whanganui region led the declines, with guest nights falling 11 per cent to 105,000 from the year earlier month, followed by Waikato which dropped 7.3 per cent to 177,000, and Wellington which slid 6.4 per cent to 216,000. Southland recorded the biggest increase in guest nights for the month, up 11 per cent to 58,000.
The overall occupancy rate for commercial accommodation advanced to 34.8 per cent from 34.3 per cent in the year earlier month.
The hotel occupancy rate increased to 60.7 per cent from 58.2 per cent, the backpacker occupancy rate edged up to 35.7 per cent from 35.5 per cent, while the occupancy rate at holiday parks advanced to 10.9 per cent from 10.7 per cent. Motel occupancy rates declined to 46.7 per cent from 46.9 per cent.