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Canterbury leads drop in southern guest nights

June proved a mixed bag for the accommodation sector, with the North Island's strong performance cancelling out a significant fall in South Island guest nights.

June proved a mixed bag for the accommodation sector, with the North Island's strong performance cancelling out a significant fall in South Island guest nights.

Overall, national guest nights rose 0.3 percent compared with the same period last year thanks to 13 percent growth in Auckland, which had the largest rise of any region due mainly to increased domestic guest nights in hotels.

Statistics New Zealand's Accommodation Survey records guests staying in hotels, motels, backpacker accommodation and holiday parks each month

But while the North Island recorded 1.1 million guest nights (up 6 percent), the South Island had just 600,000, a drop of 9 percent.

The Canterbury region recorded a large decrease, especially in international guest nights, due to the ongoing impact of the  earthquakes. The number of guest nights in Otago also significantly decreased.

"Otago's decrease was driven by a fall in Queenstown guest nights," industry and labour statistics manager Louise Holmes-Oliver said.

"Later opening dates for ski fields contributed to this, as did flight disruptions due to the ash cloud caused by the eruption of Chile's Puyehue-Cordón Caulle volcano."

Three of the five South Island regions had fewer guest nights in June 2011 than in the previous June, with Canterbury continuing to have the largest decrease. International guest nights again fell considerably in Canterbury, and accommodation capacity is down, particularly for hotels and backpacker accommodation.

The Nelson/Marlborough/Tasman region had the largest increase in guest nights followed by the West Coast.

Holiday parks and motels recorded increases in guest nights, while hotels and backpacker accommodation recorded falls.