Auckland Airport has forecast annual international visitor growth that could be worth $19 billion to the tourism industry by 2025.
The airport's Ambition 2025 document forecasts growth of between 3.6 per cent to 5.5 per cent resulting in the number of overseas tourists growing from 2.7 million a year to 5.2 million.
The forecasts are in line with a New Zealand Tourism Industry Association growth framework which targets 6 per cent annual growth in the next decade and comes as airlines prepare to increase services to lucrative Asian markets this summer.
Auckland Airport chief executive Adrian Littlewood said New Zealand tourism's best growth opportunities for international visitors appeared to lie in Australasia, Asia and the Americas.
"Australia will always be a key market to New Zealand because of its proximity. Within Asia, China remains the stand-out prospect for growing tourism. While the USA remains the important key market in the Americas, the emerging prospects of South America cannot be ignored," he said.
"New Zealand must especially try to capture an increasing share of international visitors from the key 'high opportunity target' (HOT) markets, such as Brazil, India, Indonesia and of course China."
China has been New Zealand's fastest growing market, and although numbers have flattened due to travel package law changes in that country, the under the airport's 'ambitious" scenario average annual growth could be 12 per cent rising from 228,000 to nearly 900,000 a year.
This increase would be driven by new air capacity development, a confident consumer market and a growing middle class.
On Thursday China Southern Airlines announced it will increase its 2014/2015 summer peak season flights on the Guangzhou-Auckland route from 10 to 14 per week.
The double daily services between Auckland and Guangzhou for five months would add 40,000 seats to the route and inject $43 million into the New Zealand economy, the airport said.
Air New Zealand will step up services between New Zealand and Tokyo this summer using the airline's Boeing 787 Dreamliners in part of a broader push by this country to revive the Japanese market which has tumbled by 100,000 arrivals since 2002 to around 74,000 last year.
The airport forecasts New Zealand's biggest market, Australia, will grow from 1.2 million to just under 2 million in the best case scenario.
This would be driven by Australia's proximity, a continuing strong economy, a large expat population and the conversion of domestic holiday makers to travel here.
The Ambition 2025 document was launched at an Asian tourism seminar hosted by the airport today and sets out a range of predictions for 18 inbound markets.