Northland's estimated yearly tourism spend has increased by 7 per cent to $1.1 billion with both international and domestic spending up.

Latest figures released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment show domestic visitors spent $842m and international tourists $257m in Northland for the 12 months to the end of November 2017.

Spending by international tourists was up 8 per cent and domestic visitors up 7 per cent.

Monthly tourism spending in November was also up 7 per cent to $90m compared with the same month in 2016.


The Far North earned the region an estimated $509m from tourism in the year to November 2017, with bulk of that coming from the Bay of Islands.

Tourism spend in Whangarei was $473m and in Kaipara $118m.

"This continues the ongoing pattern for more than a year where Northland's growth rate is running around double the national average", Northland Inc regional promotions and tourism general manager Paul Davis said.

Of the $257m spent by international tourists, Australian visitors forked out $65m, UK $43m, rest of Europe $40m, US $35m, Germany $31m, Canada $12m, rest of Asia $9m, China $6m, rest of Oceania $5m, rest of Americas $4m, and Africa and Middle East $3m.

Retail sales topped the shopping list, with the sector earning $229m, other passenger transport $194m, alcohol, food and beverage sales only $167m, food and beverage serving services $158m, fuel and automotive products $135m, accommodation $93m, tourism products $87m and cultural, recreational and gambling services $35m.

There has been a noticeable increase in backpackers who are staying in the region longer.

Backpacker hostel nights grew strongly by 21.5 per cent in November, an indicator of international youth travel.

Tourism New Zealand, in partnership with other companies including Flight Centre, last month launched a campaign in New South Wales and Queensland to entice visitors to Northland outside the summer months.