WIESBADEN (dpa-AFX) - Hotels and other accommodation providers did weaker business in April following the early start to the Easter vacations this year. The number of overnight stays by domestic and foreign guests fell by 7.4 percent to 37.1 million compared to the same month last year, according to preliminary results released by the Federal Statistical Office on Tuesday. This decline is likely to be related to the early start of the Easter holidays this year, it said.

This year, the vacations began in March, except in Schleswig-Holstein. Many families in Germany had already started their Easter vacation this month instead of in April, it said. Overnight stays by domestic travelers fell sharply by 8.9 percent in April, while foreign guests recorded a slight increase of 0.4 percent. In March, accommodation providers reported a record number of overnight stays for the month. In March and April combined, the figures were 1.2 percent higher than in the same period last year.

In the first four months, accommodation establishments recorded a total of 125.8 million overnight stays. This was an increase of 3.1 percent compared to the same period last year. The number of overnight stays by domestic guests rose by 2.6 percent to 104.5 million. An increase of 5.5 percent to 21.3 million was recorded for travelers from abroad. The figures relate to accommodation establishments with at least ten beds or ten camping pitches./mar/DP/mis