Conferences and small events have helped contribute to a $1.8 billion spend-up in Bay of Plenty's tourism, industry officials say.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's latest monthly regional tourism estimates show the Bay's tourism spend was up 6 per cent for the year to August.

This was made up of $615 million spent by international visitors, up 8 per cent, and $1.2b by domestic tourists, which was up 5 per cent, manager of sector trends Mark Gordon said.

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"When it comes to the monthly expenditure, tourism spend in the Bay of Plenty for the month of August 2017 is up 9 per cent compared with the month of August 2016."

The figures showed $113m was spent in the Bay last month.

Tourism Bay of Plenty's Kathrin Low said August was a great conference month.

"Shoulder season months tend to be very popular. Our partnership campaign activity with Air NZ has been focused on driving business to the Bay of Plenty during shoulder months also."

Additionally, Ms Low said Tourism Bay of Plenty had focused on supporting initiatives and undertaking marketing initiatives which stimulated interest and activity in driving shoulder season growth.

Ms Low said visitors spend proportionately more money on retail and dining out.

"As a destination which has very high levels of visiting friends and relatives it is a common trend that we see heightened levels of spend in both of these areas, which is great for local cafes, restaurants and retailers."

Ms Low said it had a clear plan of targeting specific emerging markets from off-shore and this was seen in the international visitor figures.

"Hosting key influencers and media to the region who are able to impact visitor decision making and help us to share our love of the Bay is also resulting in some exciting exposure and opportunity."

Looking up at Mauao from the Main Beach, Mount Maunganui. Photo/Tourism Bay of Plenty
Looking up at Mauao from the Main Beach, Mount Maunganui. Photo/Tourism Bay of Plenty

Ms Low said the organisation, in partnership with Tourism New Zealand, recently hosted a film crew from Brazil.

"Their content went to air and the reach was 37 million people. The benefits of activity such as this can have ongoing positive ripple effects for years to come."

Ms Low said the AIMS Games would have significantly contributed to a further increase in September when the sporting event brought more than 10,000 athletes to Tauranga.

"It is an enormously successful event which brings thousands of people to the region."

ASB Baypark business development manager Gillian Houser said the venue was busy year-round, however it was particularly busy with conferences in winter.

"A lot of associations have their annual conferences in August and September."

Tony Bullot, Accommodation NZ Bay of Plenty accommodation sector group chairman, said the figures definitely fitted with what members were experiencing.

"That's obviously good news ... and that's exactly what we would expect."

Mr Bullot said small businesses were feeling more confident and people were happier to spend more money on weekends away.

He said there have been a lot of events on as well and he had noticed more domestic visitors.