Data released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) yesterday shows that tourism spending for the Whanganui-Manawatu region reached $872 million for the year to April 2016.

That figure is a 7 per cent increase on the previous year.

For tourism operators the good news is that the biggest increase can be put down to growing numbers of international visitors coming through the combined region.

In that 12-month period overseas visitors spent $152 million, which is a lift of 20 per cent compared with the year ended April 2015.


The domestic tourist spend was up 5 per cent to $720 million.

The Whanganui-Manawatu area takes in those districts covered by the Horizons Regional Council's boundaries.

Peter Ellis, MBIE manager of sector trends, said the latest data provided quality and detailed information on regional spending.

Mr Ellis said better information on how tourists were spending their money will help with investment and planning in the tourism industry.

"It will be providing further insights into where both domestic and international tourists are spending their money, and what their expenditure is on," he said.

This data, called monthly regional tourism estimates, replaces the regional tourism indicators that were developed in 2012.

Mr Ellis said it let the industry measure the spend by international and domestic visitors in regions across the country.

It breaks down key areas such as country of origin, and where they're spending their money in areas such as accommodation, passenger transport and retail sales.

At the same time as this information has been released comes the quarterly labour market data for the first quarter of the year which again shows the Whanganui-Manawatu region the up.

The number of job vacancies increased in all 10 regions, including this region.

The biggest increases were in the Bay of Plenty (up 3 per cent), the top of the South Island (1.9 per cent), Auckland, Otago/Southland and Waikato (1.7 per cent) while the number of vacancies in Whanganui-Manawatu rose 1.2 per cent for the last quarter.

However, compared to the same period last year that's an increase of almost 21 per cent.

MBIE said the labour market was again strong for the March quarter and that followed on from a strong December result.