Tourism spend for Hawke's Bay is estimated to be $638 million for the year to May 2018, up five per cent compared to May 2017.

The latest Monthly Regional Tourism Estimates were released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

MBIE Manager of Sector Trends Mark Gordon, said of the tourism spend in the year to May 2018, international visitors spent $170 million (up 12 per cent compared with the year to May 2017).

Domestic tourists spent $467 million (up three per cent) in that period.

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"When it comes to the monthly expenditure, tourism spend in Hawke's Bay for the month of May 2018 is up 13 per cent compared with the month of May 2017," he said.

General Manager of Hawke's Bay Tourism Annie Dundas, said the rise in spend was a huge positive for the region.

"It's fantastic and I think May 2018 compared to 2017 was up in terms of numbers, which was great, so for us that was a good indication."

"It means we've extended our seasonality, whereas if you look at how May was a few years ago, it was a lot quieter compared to now."

Dundas said the increased tourism spending was down to planned winter events to keep the region buzzing.

"The marathon held in May is one of the reasons why things are good, because we've been building that event for the past three years. So having the marathon in May was to build up those visitor numbers."

"The nice thing with the increase means that the visitors coming to the marathon have increased the support numbers as well. So it means the marathon is doing some really good things to grow the numbers of visitors in the past few months."

Dundas also put the expenditure down to the sunny weather during winter.

"I feel like May had really good weather, we get people from a Wellington market or an Auckland market who specifically come to the Bay to escape for some sunshine."

Dundas said she also felt that Art Deco played a consistent role in keeping the flow of tourists passing through Hawke's Bay.

"Art Deco is a really big part of our story and the vintage car products we have now from the Art Deco Trust and Vintage car hire is proving to be great for the local economy. The trust have made it really easy to access the city now through the use of a good old vintage car."