New Zealand is increasingly being seen as an "escape" for United States travellers in the wake of the election of Donald Trump, a tourism boss says.

The number of visitors from the US is growing rapidly, up 23 per cent in the year to March to 312,000.

Bjoern Spreitzer, general manager of Americas and Europe for Tourism New Zealand, said changes had been dramatic in the United States and this would fuel this market even more.

This country was in a tourism sweet spot among 27.9 million Americans who were considering a trip to this country.


"New Zealand is seen as a really good place to escape - they aways liked landscapes but there's a friendliness element now that has really got dialled up because of the changes in the US," he said at the Trenz tourism marketing event in Auckland on Friday.

Increased air service following the arrival of American Airlines and United Airlines on routes across the Pacific was enabling them to make trips here.

Air New Zealand's direct services into Houston had stimulated the Texas market and helped create greater interest the US north-east in getting to this country.

Spreitzer said Americans had a "love affair" with New Zealand and many used all of their limited annual leave to come to this country.

The US inbound market is forecast to grow by 6 per cent during the next six years to 440,000.

In its annual projection, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment says growth in visitor arrivals is expected to be strong for the next two years due to the new routes and upgraded capacity.

"The improving economy and stronger US dollar is expected to boost spending of US visitors who come to New Zealand," MBIE says.

United States households are in a much better position to spend and personal consumption expenditure continues to climb and was 5 per cent higher in January this year than 12 months earlier.


"Lower oil prices and a stronger US dollar was expected to boost spending of US visitors who come to New Zealand.

The MBIE data forecasts spending will increase 6.5 per cent to $1.7b by 2023.

Another speaker at Trenz, Emma Hudson, global marketing director of STA Travel Global UK, said young travellers from Europe could also be affected by more volatile politics in their countries.

It could make them more likely to be cautious about travelling away from home but could also encourage them to escape.
"It might be good (for New Zealand) but it will be less predictable and more volatile," she said.

STA is the largest agent for youth travellers from Britain and Europe to New Zealand.

Hudson said the spending power of the youth market - under 30-year-olds - was predicted to grow from $286b in 2014 to $400b over the next three years. There was particularly strong growth out of Britain, she said.

Youth travellers were being turned off travel the United States and other countries were benefiting.

New Zealand would continue to be popular with younger travellers because of its political stability and the absence of extremism.

"The one thing that New Zealand needs is to take a good look at is about the product development side of things and making sure there's more of it. In terms of the pricing for the youth market some of it can be a bit steep, even in shoulder periods."

Hudson said young travellers spent longer here and spent more money while here.

One in five was likely to return for a second trip if they had a good experience in this country, according to STA research.