The tourism industry wants to outperform Government forecasts to cement its position as one of New Zealand's biggest export sectors, says the Tourism Industry Association of New Zealand.
Tourism spending is likely to increase 25 per cent to $8.3 billion a year by 2020, driven by an increased number of visitors, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has predicted.
Visitor numbers are forecast to grow 31 per cent to 3.6 million by 2020, although the average stay is expected to fall by 1 per cent to 19 days and average daily spending will fall 4 per cent to $124.
Tourism Industry Association chief executive Chris Roberts said the five-year forecasts were a prediction of likely visitor numbers and visitor spending in a "business as usual" approach.
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But he believes the the industry can "do much better" than business as usual.
The new forecasts reinforced the view that some of the greatest opportunities for New Zealand's tourism industry lay within the Pacific Rim, most obviously with China, but also with other Asian markets such as India and Indonesia.
"The forecasts predict an impressive 132 per cent lift in spend by visitors from China out to 2020," Roberts said.
"This gives the industry a sound platform to lift this performance through initiatives such as better targeting and attracting high-value Chinese visitors."
The industry could also take advantage of several events in New Zealand during the five-year period of the forecasts.
The first was the Cricket World Cup early next year, for which travellers from cricket nations such as India and Pakistan could use the new single visa for visits to Australia and New Zealand during the tournament.