Figures released by financial information group Marketview shows Napier posted a strong rise in local and visitor spending during the last quarter of 2016 and that was continuing into this year, Napier City Business Inc manager Zoe Barnes said.

Marketview analyses consumer spending patterns and collects data from BNZ and Paymark EFTPOS cardholders and figures for the final quarter showed Napier was way up on the national averages as well as up on figures for the same final quarter period of 2015.

During October, November and December cardholder spending by international visitors was up by 14.9 per cent - as against the national average of 7.8 per cent - while spending by visitors from other parts of the country was up 6.4 per cent.

"So in short we are having a huge tourism season combined with a strong, loyal local base - which is very apparent in town," Ms Barnes said.


The fastest growing sectors were food and beverage (up 14.2 per cent) followed by accommodation at 13.1 per cent.

"Hawke's Bay has been the place to be this summer and absolutely, for sure, it looks to be continuing."

The figures arrive in the wake of Paymark results which showed Hawke's Bay retail spending overall topped the country in January - the second month in a row.

It showed an 11.1 per cent increase over the same period last year and the bright figures may have been influenced by the bright weather.

Ms Barnes said while the Tremains Art Deco Festival may have been dampened by rain the summer had effectively been the best in the country.

"And it appears people have been coming here in droves because of that."

The suburban centres had also seen the benefit of the "droves" arriving with the cardholder spend in Taradale up 11.7 per cent over the October/November/December period in 2015 while Ahuriri showed an 8.6 per cent increase.

Ms Barnes said the rising visitor figures were also boosted by the local cardholder use figure of 70.7 per cent spent in the city - compared to the national average of 64.8 per cent.

"Which shows locals have a fabulous buy local attitude and that there is a great product mix available."

Ms Barnes said aside from the weather there was the tourist appeal the whole country had been embracing.

"It's getting pretty scary out there and we are being seen as a haven in the world right now."

That was evidenced by a rising number of American tourists as well as European visitors, especially from Germany.

"A lot of retailers have been reporting a huge amount of international tourists and there are definitely a lot of Americans coming here."

Napier i-Site manager Jane Libby said the point of difference this summer had been the early start.

"We saw a lot of international visitors arriving in October and November and that's early for us," she said, adding it was a combination of the region's growing reputation and generally fine weather at a time when there was not likely to be too many people about.

"The climate has a lot to do with it and on the whole we've done really well with our summer."

The cruise ship season had also grown, and next season's schedule will see even more liners arrive.

"We've just had four cruise ships in five days so yes, we've been pretty busy."

Ms Libby said the feeling she got was that many passengers had become much more discerning in what they wanted to do and see as they were "experienced cruisers" and pursued things they could not do at home.

While it was a challenge for tourism operators they had stepped up well, she said.

Hawke's Bay Tourism general manager Annie Dundas said the Marketview retail rise figures married in with figures which had emerged from the region's tourism sector.

"Everything is up and everyone is positive - it is very exciting," she said, echoing Ms Libby's comments about the great November start.

"It was well up on previous years and we had a couple of big events on," she said, adding that yes, the above average weather in the region "definitely" plays it part.

"We have been in big campaign mode highlighting what is on this summer and it is paying off."