- Associated Press - Friday, April 28, 2017

HONOLULU (AP) - The Hawaii Tourism Authority says visitor spending jumped more than 12 percent in March compared with the same month last year.

The state agency said Friday spending by tourists topped $1.4 billion last month.

The number of tourists coming to Hawaii exceeded 800,000, which is 2 percent more than in March 2016.

Japanese travelers led the gains. That’s attributed to Hawaiian Airlines’ launch of a direct flight from Tokyo to Kailua-Kona in December and increased air service from Japan to Honolulu.

The agency says Japanese visitor spending surged more than 20 percent. Travelers from Japan grew by 9 percent.

CEO George Szigeti is calling March “a truly remarkable month.” He says it’s a sign the Hawaiian Islands continue to be a favorite destination for global travelers.

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