Shoppers have hit the seafront in droves in Tauranga, with the return of the port's first cruise ship since 2020.
The Majestic Princess docked in Tauranga with more than 3500 tourists on board.
The head of the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce, Matt Cowley, said Pilot Bay was teeming with people.
"It was quite an impressive sight. Lots of people having takeaways and picnics on the beach.
"But yeah, everyone was quite excited to welcome the ship in yesterday."
Majestic Princess has arrived into Tauranga - the first cruise liner to visit a regional port in New Zealand in almost three years. Thanks for the warm welcome, Bay of Plenty! ⚓️ pic.twitter.com/HFQB9l61E1— Princess Cruises AU (@Princess_AUST) October 15, 2022
A Mount Maunganui restaurant manager said business was booming yesterday.
Cezar Brando, a manager at Fish Face restaurant, said visitors were keen to get a taste of Tauranga.
"Local wine, local beer and of course, we do shellfish. We all get everything from Coromandel so they ask for something that can be, like, local, in Tauranga or around the region."
Brando said the restaurant's takings were up about 60 percent on an average Saturday, and that many in town were return visitors.
"Most of the people that got here today they came a couple of years ago, so they know pretty much the Mount and everything, so it was fantastic to see them again."
Cowley said locals are thrilled to have tourists back.
"The tourism sector has been trying to rebuild within a pretty tight labour market just to prepare for the big international tourist season through cruise ships, and our usual tourism season as well."
After three years of almost no tourism, Cowley said there are staff shortages right across the sector, from coach drivers to hospitality staff.