Visitors to the National Gallery of Australia look at the work Caudieux during Toulouse Lautrec exhibition in April.

Visitors to the National Gallery of Australia look at the work Caudieux during Toulouse Lautrec exhibition in April. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

Canberra's centenary celebrations delivered a big boost to tourist numbers, according to figures released by the ACT government.

A Tourism Research Australia survey found the number of people from interstate visiting the ACT for an overnight holiday in the March quarter increased by more than 50 per cent on the same time last year.

The ACT recorded nearly a 17 per cent increase in domestic overnight visitors for the quarter, by far the largest increase in tourists of all the states and territories.

But it still had the second fewest such visitors, ahead only of the Northern Territory.

In the period ending March 2013, the ACT hosted 2,031,000 domestic overnight visitors, a nearly 9 per cent increase on the previous year, and the average length of stay was three nights, up from 2.7.

The ACT government said there was little doubt Canberra's centenary events were responsible for the big boost in tourist numbers.

It pointed to the Toulouse-Lautrec blockbuster exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia, the one-day international cricket match at Manuka Oval and the events around Canberra's Big Birthday Weekend as major drawcards.