Rotorua tourism operators say this summer is shaping up to be the best season yet for the industry.
Business had strengthened through December and into Christmas at Rotorua Canopy Tours, said general manager Paul Button.
"It's definitely our busiest time of year. Internationally, we've seen a huge spike in visitors from the USA coming on our tours.
"There's been a steady flow of domestic visitors and notably local Bay of Plenty people heading through Canopy Tours this season, so it's great to see Kiwis exploring more of their own backyard this summer."
Button said given the challenges a lot of operators in the region faced, particularly in regard to domestic tourism over winter, if this summer could be on par with last summer that would be considered a win.
"And that's what it looks like is happening."
Although official visitor spend data has not yet been released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Destination Rotorua chief executive Michelle Templer said the iSite, which represented a segment of all visitors to Rotorua, had a 15 per cent increase.
"The number of visitors through the main Rotorua iSite over the two weeks of Christmas and New Year was very similar to 2018/2019.
"However, the Redwoods iSite has seen some of its busiest days ever, with a 15 per cent increase in visitor numbers through the doors this holiday period," Templer said.
Both Department of Conservation and Rotorua Lakes Council campgrounds were full throughout the two weeks according to the iSite camping ambassador team, said Templer, and the iSites themselves fielded lots of inquiries about restaurant and accommodation availability.
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"The high season in Rotorua now runs from mid-October to mid-April, and the lengthening of that period is the result of a lot of hard work by the visitor industry to bring people here for longer."
Rainbow Springs business manager David Hennigan said it was a busy start to the season with many manuhiri enjoying the new picnic lawn and cafe.
"We have noticed that kiwi are a huge drawcard these holidays, so as a result, we've also increased the number of behind-the-scenes tours that we run every day."
Events such as Glo Festival, the Tarawera Ultramarathon and Crankworx were all part of the many events that helped to attract both domestic and international visitors.
It is estimated about 15,000 people headed down to the Village Green to be part of the New Year's celebrations at Glo Festival this year and the vast majority of these were locals, said Rotorua Lakes Council arts and culture business development manager Joanna Doherty.
"The summer holidays are always busy with events, and this year has been no different from other years.
"Of the events over the holidays so far, Glo Festival has probably had the biggest benefit, in terms of the numbers of both residents and visitors that have enjoyed the free entertainment, and laser and firework displays."
The summer holiday period was traditionally the peak season for Redwoods Treewalk and this year was proving no different, said co-founder Bruce Thomasen.
"Given the great weather we have had over the last two to three weeks I would suggest the volume of visitors is slightly up on last year.
"Since we have had little to no rain since Christmas day and wet, stormy weather has not impacted visitor arrivals, we are seeing an increase in visitors accordingly."
The holiday season had also been good for the hospitality sector, said Bay of Plenty regional manager at Hospitality New Zealand Alan Sciascia.
"This is the time of year when it is traditionally busy with people travelling and celebrating with friends and family.
"Tourism has been strong both domestic and international and we expect this to continue through 2020."
He said it was too early to say whether this was the best year ever because he was awaiting statistics.