Foreign visitors have helped the tourism industry overtake dairy as New Zealand's largest export earner for the first time in five years.
The value of international tourism for the year ended September 2015 reached $13.5 billion according to the Tourism Industry Association, above the $13 billion totalled by the dairy industry.
TIA chief executive Chris Roberts says the tourism upswing began in 2013, experiencing a 40 percent boom since, a trend they believe will continue into the new year.
"Tourism was number one from the late nineties until 2010. Dairy then had its boom but is now experiencing a pullback," he said today.
"Both industries are vital to New Zealand's economic wellbeing but with the recent dramatic growth in international visitor spend, we are pleased that tourism is having an increasingly important role."
"We have every reason to expect the upward trajectory to continue through 2016, particularly given the multitude of new air services being introduced, the lower New Zealand dollar, relatively cheap fuel prices and strong marketing campaigns."
Tourism has set itself an industry-wide goal of being worth $41 billion by 2025.