Full guest rooms, patrolled beaches and bustling events are how Labour weekend is set to look as the pre-summer season "kicks off" in the Bay.
After a year of uncertainty, people are getting back out to festivals and beaches with this summer expected to be "exceptionally" busy.
With alert level 1 in full swing, a number of events are planned to take place in the city over the long weekend.
The annual and ever-popular Vegan Vibes festival is set to take place on Saturday at Mount Maunganui's Soper Reserve.
The event attracts hundreds to the park, with a number of local and national vendors coming down to show off their best bites and products.
It was expecting its biggest attendance yet, partly due to people itching to get to events but also with a growing interest in the vegan lifestyle, Aimee Short from Little Big Events said.
"The team here at Little Big Events are pumped to be back doing what we love and hosting events after being in level 2 and above restrictions. It has been amazing to see the whole community flood to our events."
Vegan Vibes co-founder Rachelle Duffy said: "The crowds grow every year, as do the number of stallholders wanting to share their products and knowledge."
Meanwhile, for those looking for something with a bit more grunt, the much-loved Bay of Plenty Steamers are taking on Canterbury on Saturday afternoon at the Tauranga Domain.
For something a bit more low-key, New Zealand singer-songwriter Bic Runga will be performing at the Baycourt Community and Arts Centre this Sunday.
Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Matt Cowley said Labour weekend marked the start of the summer for the city.
Surf lifeguard patrols started up again and shopping centres started filling up as the last public holiday until Christmas, he said.
He said people would likely seek a "change of scenery" over the long weekend and Tauranga was a great place for it.
"We will likely see plenty of visitors. Labour weekend tourists inject cash into retailers, eateries and accommodation after a long winter.
"Many businesses in the service industry will be hoping for a long, busy summer."
Hospitality New Zealand accommodation sector Bay of Plenty chairman and 850 Cameron Motel owner Tony Bullot said the weekend was looking "nice and busy", something he welcomed after such an "unusual year".
He said this weekend would be important in helping some providers back on their feet.
He had "given up on predictions" when asked about if he was expecting a busy summer but said they would take business at every opportunity.
Providers had seen an increase in people booking at short notice as a result of the uncertainty around, he said.
Saturday and Sunday were both expected to be clear with mild spring highs of 19C and 20C, however, there was a possible shower or two expected throughout the days, according to MetService.
Showers were forecast to set in on Monday with a high of 20C and a low of 12C, it said.
The warm weather had lifeguards at the ready as the summer surf lifesaving patrol season begins this weekend.
Patrol captain Jamie Troughton said they were expecting a "big weekend" with all lifeguards set to be down at the beach to ensure they were "match-fit ready".
He said a large portion of the callouts local lifeguards got were up Mauao so they had employed additional training for those sorts of events.
"Summer officially kicks off this weekend and the red and yellow will be out in force."
He said from the sounds of things, it was going to be an "exceptionally busy summer" with campsites already booking up "full of Kiwis".
He said the typical advice like swimming in the flagged areas, not getting in the water alone and using common sense stood as usual.
Tourism Bay of Plenty's Kath Low said it was hoped that Labour weekend would provide the region with the "much-needed" economic injection into the tourism industry.
She said they had heard from several accommodation providers in Tauranga that they're at or near full capacity.
Although they did not have Labour weekend specific data, she said total visitor spend for the month of October 2019 reached $89 million, however, $19m of this came from international visitors.
"We know that New Zealand's tourism industry will not be welcoming international visitors for some time and the impact of the borders remaining shut is significant for the industry. We are encouraged by the number of Kiwis getting out and exploring their backyard while we have Aotearoa to ourselves and hope that this trend continues."
The NZ Transport Agency was expecting high volumes of traffic on roads across the Bay of Plenty this Labour Day long weekend.
The busiest roads were expected to be State Highway 29 over the Kaimai Ranges, on SH2 between Paeroa and Waihi and again between Katikati and Tauranga.
Transport agency regional relationships director Steve Mutton said Labour Day weekend travel was predicted to be very busy this year due to people only being able to travel inter-regionally during Covid-19 restrictions.
"Travel may be more spread out across the country this year with holidaymakers taking the opportunity to have a longer break either side of Labour Day weekend and exploring different regions to normal."