New figures show South Island tourism is growing, particularly in smaller towns.
Statistics from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment show guest nights have grown by 7 percent in the South Island, compared to 4 percent in the North Island.
Tourist numbers rose the most in Wanaka and Mackenzie in the year to January, up 14 percent.
Auckland University of Technology tourism professor Simon Milne said the internet has helped small towns to lift their profile.
He said dispersing tourists would help boost the industry and reduce any over-crowding in major centres.