Tourists spent $1.6 billion in the Bay of Plenty in the year to July, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment says.

The latest Monthly Regional Tourism Estimates released by the Ministry today showed tourism spend for the Bay was estimated to be $1.6 billion for the year to July 2016, up 7 per cent compared with the year to July 2015.

The Ministry's manager of sector trends, Peter Ellis, said of this tourism spend, international visitors spent $494 million and domestic tourists spent $1.1 billion.

Mr Ellis said the ministry developed the monthly report in consultation with tourism industry representatives to create a better measurement of the value of tourism in the regions.

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"Tourism spend information for the regions helps inform investment and planning in the tourism industry by providing further insight into where both domestic and international tourists are spending their money."