Economists say more tourists to help Hawaii's economy expand 2.4 percent next year

HONOLULU (AP) - University of Hawaii economists say the arrival of more tourists and growing visitor spending will help the state's economy expand next year.

A report by the university's Economic Research Organization says Hawaii's gross domestic product will likely rise 2.4 percent in 2013. That's faster than the 1.1 percent growth it expects for this calendar year.

The economists say more travelers from Canada and Australia are visiting, along with U.S. mainland tourists who held back on travel during the recession. There are also more visitors from China and South Korea.

The economists estimate visitor arrivals will grow 3 percent next year after rising more than 9 percent this year.

The construction industry has been weak, but the report released Friday says residential building and public projects should help the sector pick up next year.

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