27 Jul 2021

Domestic travel not enough for hotel sector long term, industry says

10:29 am on 27 July 2021

A double whammy of Covid-19 and the low tourism season combined to empty more than one in 10 core hotel and motels across the country last month.

hotel room abstract interior, lamp near the bed

Photo: 123RF

Data collected by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment indicates 11 percent of the tourism accommodation was either closed or had no guests in June.

The data, collected over the past 13 months, indicates the occupancy rate was 42 percent over the year with an estimated 93 percent of those guest nights coming from domestic visitors.

"I think (the data) back up what we've been saying all along that domestic travel alone wouldn't be enough to support the hotel sector in New Zealand in the long term," Hotels Council strategic director James Doolan said.

Core tourism accommodation providers, including those which offer managed isolation and quarantine, hosted a total of 30.4 million guest nights.

Doolan said the industry needed help with its planning.

"The reason for that is hotels are large and expansive infrastructure assets that also need a lot of staff and employees to operate them."

He said the the industry needed information on reopening.

"We realise we're living in uncertain times, so no one expects hard and fast dates, but it's starting to have a discussion around what the future looks like - what are the criteria for reopening, how are we going to reopen, what happens when we get to 80 percent of New Zealanders vaccinated, what happens next."