Rugby World Cup visitor numbers are looking good, despite refunds for the eight relocated Christchurch matches.
RWC boss Martin Snedden said ticket sales were tracking better than he had anticipated the year before and he now confidently backed visitor estimates of 85,000 or more.
"Until [the Christchurch earthquake], we were on track. That has taken us backwards a bit, but it's our job to adjust. There is no point sitting around moaning about it."
All tickets for the eight Christchurch matches had to be refunded once the decision was made to move the games.
These tickets were worth about $20 million, but tickets for the new match venues are now being offered to those people and he expected general sales to start in early July.
Domestic sales were likely to be most affected by the venue changes as people living in Christchurch might not be in a position to travel to matches they could have attended on their own doorstep.
To meet targets, $268 million of tickets need to be sold, equating to 1.3-1.4 million tickets, and Snedden did not think this was unrealistic.
"You do sell a lot of tickets in the final two to three months before events like this and again when the event starts."
The 20 official travel agents, who sell packages including tickets, have increased their commitment from 70,000 tickets to 105,000.
Snedden said this compared well to the 85,000 tickets sold through official travel agents for the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia, for which fans had to travel a similar distance.
But he said the bulk of the tickets would be sold to independent travellers and those who had already bought tickets were thoroughly surveyed to get an accurate picture of who was coming.
Unsurprisingly, Australian residents make up nearly a third of independent travellers but Snedden estimated only 60 per cent of these would be supporting the Wallabies, while 40 per cent backed their country of origin.
The good news for Rotorua's tourism operators is that 50 per cent of independent visitors will be arriving before the opening ceremony.
Visitors will also be staying a good length of time, averaging 23 days, and nearly half will be first-time visitors to New Zealand, which Snedden said offered a unique opportunity to sell the country as a destination to a significant group of people who had not been motivated to travel here previously.