Room rates up as foreign tourists return

Last updated 05:00 03/09/2014

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A return of tourists to the country over the past year has seen the average price of a night in a hotel rise to $157 a person.

Data from accommodation booking website Hotels.com showed New Zealand hotel room prices increased 7 per cent in the first six months of this year, compared to the same period in 2013.

This was above the global benchmark, which rose 4 per cent.

Nearly all the New Zealand destinations measured by the Hotel Price Index showed an increase in prices, with only Hamilton and Invercargill declining. Wellington hotel rooms rose to an average of $148 a night, up 7 per cent.

The index found prices had risen because of an increase in visitor numbers following a year-long slump in tourists caused by the natural disasters in Christchurch in 2011 and 2012.

Hotels.com Asia Pacific vice-president and managing director Abhiram Chowdhry said the hotel market was being boosted by continued interest from Chinese travellers.

"The New Zealand tourism industry has continued to rebound following the natural disasters and has gone from strength to strength in the last three years.

"Increased visitor numbers to the region mean hoteliers are well poised to enjoy continued growth."

In July, 196,900 people visited the country - the highest ever for that month.

Statistics New Zealand said in the year to July, 2.8 million visitor arrivals were recorded, up 6 per cent on the year before.

The top four sources of visitors were Australia, China, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Statistics NZ population statistics manager Susan Hollows said more visitors from Indonesia, Australia and China had boosted numbers for the July record.

But hotels and motels had a quiet June, statistics showed, with guest nights down 4.4 per cent in the month, more than reversing a small gain in May.

Domestic guest nights fell 8.1 per cent in June, while international guest nights were down 2.3 per cent, after adjusting for the winter slowdown.

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- The Dominion Post

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