Napier is reviewing its policy on freedom camping, which is banned under a city bylaw.
Nearly 64,000 campervans were hired last year nationwide - providing accommodation and transport for 21,347 Kiwi holidaymakers and 116,776 international visitors, a tourism survey reveals.
A quarter of all international campervan tourists visited the Bay.
Napier Mayor Barbara Arnott said the number of campervan tourists staying in the city had grown in the past decade.
Although freedom camping was not allowed in Napier, campervans were permitted to stay for one night in the city free-of-charge at several sites, though most chose to stay on Marine Parade, Ms Arnott said. The site was safe and had toilets and a dump site.
"Currently, like most other places in New Zealand, we're reviewing our policy on campervans in line with the [Freedom Camping] act."
Freedom campers were not a problem in Napier and despite the bylaw, the council had made it "quite clear" campervans could stay without charge for a single night.
"As long as they're not coming and setting up home here and working from their campervans, then we're pretty lenient on them coming and staying a night and then moving on," she said.
"I think we've got a pretty good relationship with them."
However, tenters were not looked on as kindly, with the leniency on freedom campers limited to those who were self-contained, Ms Arnott said.
"That's a health and safety issue, really."
The Mission Concert weekend and Art Deco Weekend were the biggest drawcards to the city, she said.
The survey found campervan travellers contributed more than $500 million a year to the national economy.
Campervan tourists spent most nights at paid New Zealand camp sites - domestic (75 per cent), and international (89 per cent).
However, those taking the cheap "freedom camping" option have encountered some difficulties.
In February 2011, a 59-year-old man was charged with attempted murder after smashing the lights and windows of a campervan parked overnight in a Golden Bay reserve and starting a fire in the cab.
He was later found not guilty by reason of insanity.
In August 2011, the Government introduced the Freedom Camping Act to curb the misuse of non-designated campsite areas.
The act was a response to community concerns about pollution and waste left behind by freedom campers - passed under urgency to coincide with the Rugby World Cup.
Under the act, camping is prohibited in areas clearly identified with relevant signage. Breaches can result in instant $200 fines, or up to $10,000 for more serious offending.
Tourism Industry Association chief executive Martin Snedden said the survey showed campers were supporting local jobs and businesses in the regions as well as main centres.
"Their spending is not limited to tourism operators but is spread across a wide range of businesses in the community," Mr Snedden said.
Campervan tourists spent $547.2 million between them, with each domestic tourist spending an average of $1527 ($194 per night) during their travels and each international tourist $3208 ($204 per night) - including the cost of their campervan.
Nearly half of international respondents visited the North and South islands while one-in-five domestic respondents did the same.
Australians were the biggest customers, hiring 18,310 campervans last year, followed by "other Europe" (9510), United Kingdom (9090) and Germany (6660).