Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis says visitor numbers will be affected by the terror attack on the Christchurch mosques.

"Obviously it will have some effect, but I'm sure [it] will pick up after that."

He believes New Zealand's "general reputation" of being a safe country will remain.

''In general, despite the enormity of this tragedy, I think we're seen as a safe destination and people realise that we are a great place to visit," said Davis.


Asked how that could be managed, Davis said Tourism New Zealand did a great job of promoting the country as a destination around the world.

"We have got to do what we're doing, for example making sure we have a range of markets that our messages go out to.''

Economists from ANZ expect an immediate dip in tourism after the terror attack on the two mosques on Friday but say it could have been worse if tourists had been targeted.

The economists say traditionally risk-averse markets in Asia might be especially affected.

In their New Zealand Weekly Focus, the ANZ economists say those tourists coming to New Zealand are more likely to avoid Christchurch for a time.

Although the rate of growth is slowing, tourism had been booming, with more than 3.8 million visitors a year coming to New Zealand.

The economists say the impact on tourist numbers will be noticeable nonetheless, and that effect will likely take at least a year to dissipate.

However, an industry leader says there has been no sign yet of any drop-off after the attacks.


''At this stage, we haven't received any reports from our tour operators that upcoming travel to New Zealand has been cancelled in response to the event,'' said Tourism Export Council chief executive Judy Chen.

''It is too early to say what the ongoing impacts might be with future travel bookings.''

The ANZ economists expect a "diversion of resources nationwide" in the short term towards essentially unproductive insurance-type activity - security guards, bag screening, cyber monitoring and the like – "probably not likely to have a meaningful macroeconomic impact, but a regular reminder that we aren't as immune from the world's woes as we thought".