Researchers at Westpac have painted a bright future for the tourism sector.

They say that after being in the doldrums for most of the past 10 years, tourism was expected to go through a cyclical upturn over the remainder of this year and through the next.

At the same time, the strong increase in Chinese visitor arrivals will continue to shape the industry, they say in a report entitled "Sleeping beauty is awake".

The upturn would come as Christchurch re-opened for business and the "fear factor" from the earthquakes subsided. Australia is still our biggest market with almost 1.2 million arrivals.