When it comes to summer holidays for Bay of Plenty residents, there's one destination people choose to visit more than anywhere else in New Zealand - Auckland.

Figures released by AA Traveller show most overnight travellers from the Bay of Plenty spent most of their time away from the province in Auckland, resulting in 319,000 nights over the December 2014 to February 2015 period.

The Waikato came a close second in popularity with a total of 149,000 nights.

This was reciprocated. Aucklanders spent most nights (563,000) in the Bay, making up 46 per cent of the total visitor nights spent in the region.

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Waikato residents spent 21 per cent (250,000 nights) of their time away in the Bay.

Tourism Bay of Plenty head of marketing Kristin Dunne said Bay residents tended to have a lot of friends and relatives living in Auckland "so it makes sense".

"These figures will also be driven by ... locals using Auckland as a gateway to international locations and 'over-nighting' in Auckland prior to international flights and also going up to experience Auckland's attraction and major events.

"With such a short drive and fly distance, it is a very easy commute in either direction."

Tourism Bay of Plenty used several avenues of marketing to Auckland and Waikato in the past year, including featuring in four episodes of The Bachelor and reaching more than a $4 million media spend through promotional articles.

The Bay also featured in advertising campaigns and this would continue. However, this would likely coincide with the shoulder summer seasons of September to November and February to May in attempt to plateau local guest nights "as accommodation is often at capacity over peak times".

The Bay of Plenty makes up about 5 per cent of the total domestic market.

Nationally, Northland and the Coromandel saw the highest number of holidaymakers contributing to 1.2 million overnight trips.

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AA Traveller marketing manager Jodie Fitzgerald said research showed steady and significant increases in AA bookings from October onwards, peaking in January.

Research showed 69 per cent of AA members listed scenery as a key ingredient to a weekend away, with 52 per cent looking for great food and 45 per cent hoping to get away from crowds.