More international travellers are visiting Northland as the region capitalises on the country's tourism gold rush.

Statistics New Zealand figures show international guests stayed in Northland for 5000 more nights in February compared with last February, a 5.8 per cent increase.

Northland Inc spokesman Paul Davis said selling the region's experiences and attractions overseas was the primary focus. He said taking advantage of the rapid increase in Chinese visitors was a particularly important market to capture, but also difficult.

"Chinese visitors do not spread throughout the whole country, and they have a very short length of stay. It's a complex marketing challenge," he said.


He said Chinese visitors generally spent time in four areas: Auckland, Rotorua, Christchurch and Queenstown. Mr Davis spent three days in Auckland last week meeting tourism agents and operators, important pieces in the tourism puzzle, to update them on Northland's attractions and products.

"We're pushing the message that Northland's a viable option for them."

More than 794,000 tourists, domestic and international, visited Northland in the year to February 2016.

The number of tourists is likely to be higher than this, as visitors also stay in non-commercial accommodation, such as with family or friends, or a private bed and breakfast, and were unable to be counted.

Nationwide, commercial guest nights in February 2016 were 7 per cent higher than a year earlier. Nights were almost evenly split between domestic and international tourists, making up 51 and 49 per cent of the figures respectively.

Year-on-year, tourist numbers from all of New Zealand's top 10 international markets increased more than 5 per cent.

The largest of these was a 27 per cent increase in tourists from China, followed by 21 per cent growth from Korea and 19 per cent from India.

The Tourism Industry Association said although international tourism is experiencing massive success at the moment, the value of domestic travel was "often overlooked".

Chief executive Chris Roberts said domestic tourism was worth $18.1 billion last year, significantly more than the $11.8 billion international market. He said New Zealanders' strong summer holiday tradition was great for the industry, but encouraging travel outside of those months was a major goal.