The tourism industry has lost its position as the country's top export earner to the dairy industry.
A report by the Tourism Industry Association released on Thursday has found that, while overall visitor spending remains stable, foreign exchange earnings have dropped.
The Canterbury tourism market has fallen by at least 15% and Christchurch lost more than 1 million guest nights in the year to February.
Lincoln University tourism professor David Simmons, who helped prepare the report, says the industry needs to shift its focus from Europe to countries like China and India which have strong economic growth.
Mr Simmons says the tourism industry needs to focus on its 100 percent Pure brand core values to get back to its number one export position.