THE Far North's tourism industry is tipped to be worth $4.4 billion a year by 2020. The new projections come as Tourism Tropical North Queensland's annual meeting was told last night that the region was the best performing international destination in Australia with the strongest growth this year. More than one in five overseas travellers to Australia and nearly half to Queensland visited the Far North in the year ended June 30. Spending is up 12 per cent to $885 million, outstripping the Australian growth of 5.9 per cent and globally of 1.8 per cent. On the domestic front spending is $1.7 billion, down by 5 per cent. The figure of $4.4 billion is based on forecasts by Tourism Australia which believes tourism spending will be worth up to $140 billion in seven years. TTNQ's strategic plan is aiming for $3.2 billion by 2015, a $1 billion increase since 2011. It is currently $2.6 billion or $7 million a day. Under the new $4.4 billion figure spending would almost double to $12 million a day. TTNQ chief executive officer Rob Giasonsaid the board was not prepared to forecast beyond 2015 when it would revise the projections. "If we apply the mathematical formula (of Tourism Australia) it would be at the high end of $4.4 billion," he said. Mr Giason said that would have to result in an increase in domestic spending, which is down, and predicted boosts in Chinese, Japanese and other key markets. He said the Chinese were spending an average of three nights in the Far North to total about 450,000 nights annually while the Japanese spent six nights each or 600,000 nights a year. TTNQ's annual report showed that international visitors grew by 15 per cent to 710,020 to the year ended June 30 for a 22 per cent share of the Australian market and 46 per cent of Queensland. The growth was ahead of Queensland (6 per cent), Australia (5 per cent), the Gold Coast (4 per cent), Sydney (6 per cent) and Melbourne (6 per cent). "We are the third most popular destination behind Sydney and Melbourne," Mr Giason said. He said more importantly the region's share of international holidaymakers was significant with Japan (39 per cent), the UK, Germany and France (32 per cent), China (30 per cent) and the US/Canada (30 per cent). TTNQ chairman Stephen Greggsaid the region was the No. 1 destination in Queensland for overseas holiday visitors.