Cruise ship visits to the Bay of Islands this season have injected $20 million into Northland's economy and brought more than 100,000 tourists - nearly double the previous season's numbers.

A report released by Cruise New Zealand on the economic impact from cruise ship visits said the $20m cash injection in the 2015/16 season was up 53 per cent from the 2014/15 season, when Northland earned $13 million from those visits.

The $20m equates to an average spend by cruise ship passengers of $200 per person per day.

Northland hosted 101,300 cruise ship passengers in the 2015/16 season compared with 59,000 the previous year - an increase of 72 per cent.


The country as a whole received 254,409 passengers, or 26 per cent more than during the 2014/15 season, and 91,900 crew - an increase of 22 per cent - resulting in a direct spend of $645m.

Far North Holdings finance manager Irwin Wilson said there was not only a rise in cruise ship passengers in the Bay of Islands but they also spent more per head.

The first component of the income from cruise ship visits, he said, consisted of pilot, berthing and shuttle bus fees.

Bus and boat excursions as a result of bookings made on board cruise ships, plus money spent on other activities such as food and visits to places of interest, formed other components of income to Northland service providers, he said.

Mr Wilson said Far North Holdings would spend $350,000 on an additional pontoon in Waitangi before the end of the year and a further $250,000 next year on wharf extension and other works to cater for passengers from bigger cruise ships expected to visit.

Northland tourism leader and Dive! Tutukaka owner Jeroen Jongejans said the satisfaction level for tourists in the Bay of Islands was the highest in the country.

"Northland is doing very well out of the cruise sector and all shipyards around the world large enough to build cruise ships are fully booked until 2022, which augurs well for our region in terms of future cruise ship visits," he said.

Cruise New Zealand said despite a bumper cruise season, arrivals in 2016/17 throughout the country would contract by 8 per cent due to the exit of Pacific Pearl's winter cruising programme.

The decrease will shave $1m in earnings - from $20m to $19m - for Northland, resulting in cruise ship passenger numbers plummeting to 90,700.

The slight downturn, however, will not last long because passenger numbers in New Zealand are expected to rise 11 per cent in 2017/18 as the country welcomes four new ships.