International visitors find free places to stay

KELSEY WILKIE
Last updated 12:00 12/06/2014

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International visitors are finding alternative places to rest their heads in the region, rather than paying for commercial accommodation, according to data released yesterday.

Data from Statistics New Zealand revealed Manawatu-Wanganui and Taranaki dropped 20.7 per cent in international guest nights spent in short-term commercial accommodation this April compared to 2013.

Domestic guest nights rose 20.4 per cent.

Palmerston North City Council economic policy adviser Peter Crawford said it was likely that international visitors were staying with friends and family as international card spending had significantly increased during that month.

International card retail spending through the Paymark network increased by 11 per cent during April, ahead of the 9 per cent increase in New Zealand, when compared to April 2013. Destination Manawatu commissioned APR Consultants to do a series of monthly surveys to determine the numbers of visitors and visitor nights stayed in Manawatu, which included private households.

The private household surveys are based on random samples of households in Manawatu.

An APR survey released in May showed that nights in private accommodation for Manawatu rose by 10.6 per cent in April 2014 compared with 2013.

Destination Manawatu chief executive Lance Bickford said he thought it was a positive sign for the region. Domestic visitor numbers improving could be linked to perceptions of the region improving.

Domestic guest nights rose 3.4 per cent in April 2014 for the entire country.

Statistics NZ business indicators manager Neil Kelly said the trend for New Zealand guest nights continued to rise and had reached a new high.

"April was a good month for the accommodation industry, with Easter, Anzac Day, and school holidays coinciding this year."

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- Manawatu Standard

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