Loss of bed statistics ‘a worry’

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By Mick Jensen

Tourism accommodation statistics used to track how tourism is contributing to communities across New Zealand is not going to be available from September after a dispute between Stats NZ and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

The sudden and unexpected removal of a useful information source for the tourism industry was bad news and “highly disappointing”, said Experience Mid Canterbury manager Bruce Moffat (pictured).

He said the monthly Commercial Accommodation Monitor (CAM) provided information about commercial accommodation activity at national, regional and district levels.

It measured visitor volumes and movements, provided guest night numbers, capacity, number of establishments and occupancy rates and was “a good guide to who was in the district at any one time”.

“While it is not entirely accurate, and a bit quirky, and does not include data on holiday homes or AirBnbs, it gives us an insight and tells us who’s here and where they’re staying.”

He said the data was passed on to accommodation operators and was also useful to show to potential investors in the district.

“For example, we know that in March there were 18,604 bed nights recorded in the district.

“With that data no longer available, we will have no idea how many people are staying here.”

The accommodation data was also a key performance indicator for his agency in its six monthly reporting to Ashburton District Council, said Mr Moffat.

He said the decision to stop the accommodation survey went against what was outlined at tourism trade show TRENZ on May 16, when the Government said it would investigate new data to give a deeper understanding of regional tourism visitation, flows and satisfaction. He said options were being investigated to obtain accommodation data via a third party, but that would be costly and difficult.