Sydney is to be centre stage of the state’s tourism push, as the core part of a new strategy to revive visitor numbers to NSW.

Coming a day after the State Government launched plans to develop a new “brand” for Sydney, the push aims to overcome the loss of momentum in visitor numbers over the past few years.

The Iemma Government plans to spend $40 million to lure more visitors to NSW follows the recent scathing report into tourism in NSW by the Rugby Union chief executive and Events NSW chairman, John O’Neill. The extra $40 million is yet to be approved.

The final submission on the new strategy will not go to cabinet until September at the earliest. When it is received, most of the money is likely to be spent on marketing, NSW Tourism Minister Matt Brown said.

“The industry made it clear it wants more spent on marketing,” Mr Brown said.

Internationally, the focus will be on China and India, against the backdrop of sluggish domestic tourism as more Australians head overseas.

“With flat domestic tourism, we need to expand focus on international tourism, including aviation policy, getting more planes to fly here.”

Visitors from China to Australia are to hit 400,000 this year, according to Tourism Research Australia, rising by another 50,000 next year. Visits from Japan will continue to lessen, hitting an estimated 390,000 next year, less than half the level of a decade ago. From about 100,000 a year at present, visitors from India are forecast to more than treble over the next five years.

“The release of the extra $40 million was contingent on industry and government reaching agreement on the way forward,” Mr Brown said. At meetings with industry yesterday, the draft strategy was agreed to and will form the basis of the final submission to cabinet.

The chief executive of Publicis Mojo, Nicholas Davie, said Sydney had promoted the elements of its appeal, but “most people around the world know we have an opera house and a Harbour Bridge”.

Paul Fishlock, the executive creative director at Campaign Palace, said the city should market itself as a place to visit because you would want to live there.

“That could potentially create some space for Sydney,” he said.