Off-peak bookings are looking positive for many Rotorua tourism operators.

Destination Rotorua Marketing general manager Oscar Nathan said events were planned to break up the traditionally quiet October-to-November shoulder season and the July-to-August period.

"Our winter events schedule includes the annual Blues Festival, Tough Guy and Gal Challenge, the Nduro mountain bike series and the Kurangaituku Netball tournament. These events bring in large numbers of spectators and participants from out of town.

"Shoulder season events such as the Okere Falls Beer Festival in October, the Tarawera Trail Marathon in November and, of course, the Rotorua Bike Festival and Crankworx in March are other key positioning events for our destination."

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Mr Nathan said the $60million Tourism New Zealand annual campaign released three months early to focus on off-peak promotions would affect local tourism numbers.

"This promotion will have an effect on all destinations across New Zealand but fits particularly well with the strategy Destination Rotorua has been adopting for some time. This involves working proactively and collaboratively with wider Central North Island tourism regions as well as Auckland International Airport to help drive new market demand."

Multi-Day Adventures owner operator Tak Mutu said his winter bookings were the biggest they had ever been.

"I definitely know our domestic numbers are up so there will be more Kiwis travelling to Rotorua to go mountain biking.

"We had a huge turnout a couple of weeks ago when we had that terrible rainstorm. We were still running not far from capacity, with people travelling down from Tauranga."

Mr Mutu said collaborating with other businesses to advertise was paying off. "We have been working closely with Polynesian Spa. We've currently got a joint marketing campaign in a couple of magazines, and mountain biking and hot pools just go hand in hand."

Rotorua Duck Tours general manager Trevor Weir said increased marketing had paid off. "If I compare it to last year we are probably a bit busier. We did quite a bit of work on our website last year so that's generating a bit more for us. Social media - we are really amping that up at the moment."

Skyline Rotorua manager Bruce Thomasen said domestic and international arrivals had risen 10 per cent during the shoulder season. "We had our busiest shoulder season ever, and I don't see why that trend won't continue through winter ... We are expecting a good, solid winter."

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