2012 Hawaii tourism economy off to strong start

HONOLULU (AP) - The Hawaii Tourism Authority says last month's visitor spending was the highest January on record.

According to visitor statistics released Friday, visitor spending last month reached $1.35 billion, up 13.9% over January 2011. Tourism officials say this surpasses the December 2011 high of $1.30 billion.

Spending gains were seen across the islands.

Kauai led the way for visitor arrivals for January, thanks to increased direct service and a charter flight from China.

A higher daily spending of $192 per person and a 7.7 growth in total arrivals contributed to January's strong increase. On a typical day in January, there were more than 223,000 visitors. The last time the figure was higher was in July 2005.

HTA President and CEO Mike McCartney says January is a good indicator for 2012.

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