Tourists and locals have started the year spending up large in Hawke's Bay.

The latest Paymark figures show a considerable increase in January spending compared with the same month last year.

There were 2.86 million transactions made last month alone, an increase of 8.3 per cent from January 2015. That equated to $130.3 million being spent in Hawke's Bay - a 7.3 per cent increase from the same month last year.

Natalie Bulman, manager of the Pacifica Kaimoana Restaurant in Napier, had noticed an influx in tourists which had increased spending in the region.


"I personally have seen an increase in UK visitors and general overseas visitors to the area," she said.

"Many have recovered well enough after the recession."

The cruise ships, sunny weather, food and wine contributed to the increased spending in Hawke's Bay, she said.

January's numbers continued the trend of high spending in Hawke's Bay.

Across the Paymark network shoppers spent $154.2 million in December - 7.6 per cent more than in December 2014.

In the Hastings CBD alone, a total $72.6 million was spent in the last three months of 2015, a report commissioned by the Hastings District Council said.

That was up almost 20 per cent on the same period a year before.

Suzelle Lingerie & Swimwear owner Coralie White has been a longtime resident retailer of Hastings. She said people had spoken to her about the vibrancy of the Hastings CBD, including a sales representative who travelled throughout the country.

She said: "The vibrancy of the CBD is a reflection of the Hastings District Council and the ongoing commitment they have to create a great shopping environment for our city."

Paymark chief marketing officer Tim McFarlane said the figures were in line with expectations for the summer months.

"After Christmas, spending is usually somewhat lower, although January traditionally sees an increase in accommodation."

This year, accommodation was up 30 per cent, food and beverage services were up 24 per cent and entertainment - including movies - was up 20 per cent.

January carried on where December spending left off, with an annual underlying Paymark growth rate of 6 per cent, similar to the 5.9 per cent average for 2015.

Paymark carried a little over 1.106 billion transactions last year - 60 transactions a second on average - 73 per cent of these transactions were for debit cards and 27 per cent for credit cards.

In value terms, $53.3 billion worth of goods and services were paid for through the Paymark network.