Tourism is one of Northland’s largest industries, and Northland is an important player in New Zealand’s national tourism scene. 

Many factors make Northland a good option for tourism investment and business operations; the size and scale of the sector, proximity to Auckland’s largest population base and largest international airport, as well as the base physical resources which make for a highly desirable and competitive visitor destination.  The region’s destination positioning is based on coastal and water-based attractions, forests, walks and natured-based activities, Maori cultural experiences and as New Zealand’s northern-most region, the benign subtropical climate.

Northland is New Zealand’s 6th largest tourism region measured in both commercial guest nights and visitor spend.  Other than the 3 largest cities and New Zealand’s icon resorts of Queenstown and Rotorua, Northland generates more visitor activity than any other region.  The Bay of Islands is the leisure and conference focus for tourism in the region, with Whangarei also being an important centre for business travel.  Annual Commercial Guest Nights (1) total 1.971M.  The split of these nights by Northland’s three districts is an indicator of travel and visit patterns;

  • Far North 65%
  • Whangarei 28%
  • Kaipara 7%

Within the region, Tourism is our third largest industry measured in share of regional GDP, contributing 8.9% of GDP in 2017 (Manufacturing 16.9%, Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing combined 11.6%).  8,800 FTE jobs are created by the tourism sector representing 12.7% of the region’s workforce. (2).

Annual visitor expenditure in Northland totals $1.121B (3) and a breakdown by market shows the relative importance of the domestic and international visitor markets to Northland.  Domestic visitors come primarily from Auckland and account for 76% of spend, while international visitors spend 24% of the total.  The largest international source markets for Northland are; Australia, UK, Rest of Europe, USA and Germany, in that order.

Northland Inc focuses on destination development and marketing activity designed to achieve change in visit seasonality patterns as well as change in national and intra-regional dispersal.  Our objective is to build a stronger year-round tourism sector where the economic benefits of tourism are spread widely throughout Northland.  Northland Inc supports the tourism sector through a range of activities across the organisation; destination marketing, insights and information, infrastructure and product development, business support services.

  1. Statistics New Zealand Commercial Accommodation Monitor
  2. Infometrics
  3. Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Monthly Regional Tourism Estimates

Fast Facts

→ Tourism is one of the major industries in Northland’s economy.
→ Tourism consistently ranks No. 6 in NZ in terms of either guest nights or visitor spend.
→ Visitors spend $1.1 billion per year in Northland. (Source: MBIE Oct 2017)

What's happening in the region - Tourism sector

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