Record numbers of tourists come to Hawaii in 2012 - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Record numbers of tourists come to Hawaii in 2012

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By AUDREY McAVOY
Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - A record number of tourists came to Hawaii last year and spent more money here than ever before.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority said Thursday nearly 8 million travelers visited the islands in 2012 - an increase of nearly 10 percent.

This breaks the previous record of 7.6 million visitors marked in 2006, before the financial crisis and recession hit.

Travelers spent a total of $14.3 billion in Hawaii - nearly 19 percent more than they spent in 2011. This breaks the annual spending record of $12.8 billion marked in 2007.

Hawaii Tourism Authority CEO Mike McCartney says a recovering global economy, the strong yen, the start of new direct flights to the islands and marketing efforts boosted the numbers.

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