Dunedin's guest nights fell by almost 10% last year,
bucking a regional trend in which demand increased in most
parts of Otago.
The latest figures released by Statistics New Zealand showed
that in Dunedin there were 788,429 visitor nights in 2012
compared with 872,167 in the previous year, a decline of
This came as visitor nights in Queenstown rose 5.8% (a total
of 2,543,499 nights), 4.3% in Clutha (82,824 nights), 5.5% in
Central Otago (300,887 nights) and 5% in the Waitaki (304,456
The only other area in Otago to experience a decline in
visitor nights last year was Wanaka. It recorded 664,255
nights, a 3.4% decline on the previous year.
Tourism Dunedin chief executive Hamish Saxton said one of the
reasons there had been a decline in visitor nights in the
city last year was because 2011 visits were boosted by the
Rugby World Cup and Sir Elton John's concert.
This made 2011 a ''blip'' when it came to the number of
visitors and there were no similar-sized events which
attracted people to Dunedin last year.
The ongoing global financial crisis and the fallout from
Christchurch's earthquakes were also continuing to affect
international visitor numbers, making for a ''tough''
environment, he said.
A reason to be positive was that there were several events,
including the Paul Simon concert on April 6 and next week's
O-Week, which would boost the number of visitors to the city
this year, he said.
The reopening of the town hall and the Dunedin Centre would
also result in more conferences in the city, he said.
Otago Motel Association president Richard Hanning agreed the
global financial crisis was affecting visitor numbers. The
strength of the Australian dollar against the United States
dollar also meant Australians were increasingly going to the
United States instead of New Zealand, Mr Hanning said.
Queenstown's December guest nights reached a record - visitor
nights for the month were up 9.6%, to 264,049, compared with
December 2011. The previous record for December visitor
nights was 240,880 in 2011.
A year-on-year comparison ending December 2012 showed a 2.7%
increase in international guest nights and an 11.8% rise in
domestic guest nights. Destination Queenstown chief executive
Graham Budd was delighted with the result.
''As we all know, our visitor mix is creating new dynamics
that we all need to adapt to.
''Holiday park numbers have declined in December while hotel
and motel guest nights have driven the growth.''