500 more hotel rooms on offer

CECILE MEIER
Last updated 05:00 12/12/2013

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Christchurch has 500 more hotel rooms than a year ago, attracting more visitors to Canterbury, new data shows.

Statistics New Zealand's latest accommodation survey shows a rise in travellers booking accommodation at Canterbury's motels, hotels, backpackers and holiday parks.

That lifted the number of all guest nights by 6.2 per cent in October compared with October last year.

The Tourism Industry Association's chairman for Canterbury hotels, Bruce Garrett, said hotels opening in Christchurch and existing hotels completing repairs meant about 500 more rooms were now available.

The association's hotel members reported similar occupancy rates of 78 per cent in October this year compared with October last year, and 84 per cent last month compared with 92 per cent in November last year.

Garrett said the total number of hotel guest nights had risen 40 per cent in the year to October.

He had heard that visitors were shifting back to using hotels rather than motels. However, the number of hotel beds was still only 40 per cent of what Christchurch had before the earthquakes, he said.

Motel Association of New Zealand chief executive Michael Baines said motel members did not report a decrease in bookings.

He said some people felt safer in motels.

This was because they had not suffered damage in the quakes.

He was confident the city's motels would retain a fair share of the market despite new hotels opening.

Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism chief executive Tim Hunter said Christchurch's accommodation sector had been improving its performance.

The improvement had been all year.

Many people who used to stay in hotels before the February 2011 earthquake had to go to motels after more than half of the city's 39 hotels suffered damage.

There were now 19 hotels in Christchurch, and 110 motels.

Hunter said motels' higher capacity would be useful in the peak season in February and March 2014. Motels had been largely unaffected by the quakes.

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