Nearly 5000 extra visitors stayed in Northland's short-term commercial accommodation in June, with the Lions rugby tour driving strong demand for rooms in the region.

Figures for the Accommodation Survey released by Statistics NZ shows Northland recording a 5.5 per cent increase in guest nights in June this year compared to the same month in 2016.

Northland Inc's regional promotions and tourism general manager, Paul Davis, said quite clearly the Lions' tour had a significant impact on visitor arrivals and spending in the region.

"Particularly coming at the bottom of the low season, an event like the Lions' tour at this time of the year makes a huge difference because it changes the whole dynamic of what's happening," he said.


Mr Davis said the influx of visitors was not just confined to match day but also the Lions official welcome at Waitangi on June 4 and before and after their third test at Eden Park in Auckland.

Going forward, he said the Northland tourism market was looking good heading into the summer season.

"Our traditional tourism markets of Australia, US and Europe are still strong. Britain is flat because of issues around Brexit so people there are having their holidays at home.

"China is a small market but the Indian market is growing in Northland. People from India who have settled in Auckland come up to Northland for their holidays," he said.

The figures show that in June last year, there were 78,413 guest nights but that number surged to 82,740 in the same month this year when the British and Irish Lions opened their tour with a match against the NZ Provincial BaaBaas in Whangarei.

Whangarei had 1646 extra visitor nights, Far North 1579 and 1102 in Kaipara.

Guest nights for domestic visitors in Northland in June were 56,082 - a fall of 1.4 per cent - while international guest nights of 26,659 was an increase of 23.9 per cent month on month.

Nationally, international guest nights rose 14.1 per cent to 898,000 - an increase of 111,000. Domestic guest nights rose 2.6 per cent to 1.4 million.

The survey collects data for guests staying in short-term commercial hotels, motels, backpacker accommodation, and holiday parks in New Zealand each month.

Private accommodation such as freedom campers is excluded.

Total overseas visitor arrivals in New Zealand reached 230,100 in June 2017, up 33,900 or 17 per cent from June 2016, with those from the UK and Ireland accounting for 49 per cent of the rise.

An estimated more than 2000 Lions fans visited Whangarei during the tour opener on June 3, with many of them spending time before and after the game touring the region.

The report said the total increase in visitors in Whangarei that day was 12,620.