- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 28, 2017

HONOLULU (AP) - Spending by visitors to Hawaii jumped 10 percent last month compared to the same time a year earlier.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority said Tuesday visitor spending hit $1.6 billion in January.

The number of visitors to Hawaii rose nearly 5 percent to more than 750,000.

Spending by Japanese travelers surged more than 26 percent. Spending by U.S. western region visitors climbed nearly 20 percent.

Tourism authority CEO George Szigeti says Hawaiian Airlines’ new nonstop route from Tokyo to Kailua-Kona has provided a tremendous boost to the Big Island. The agency says Japanese travel to the Big Island rose more than 30 percent in January.

Hawaii has welcomed a record number of travelers each year for the past five years. State economists are forecasting arrivals will rise 1.5 percent in 2017.

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