By OSKAR GARCIA
HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii's tourism industry is off to a stronger start in 2013 thanks to more visits by people from western U.S. states and Japan.
The Hawaii Tourism Authority said Thursday that total visitors in January were up nearly 6% compared with the same month last year. The islands welcomed nearly 682,000 visitors in January.
Total spending for the month was $1.43 billion, up 5.7% compared with January 2012.
The biggest increases in the market came from air travelers from western states. Just over 243,000 visitors came from the region in January, up 9% compared with January last year. Spending from the western U.S. jumped 14.5% to $419.6 million.
Visits from Japan increased nearly 8% while spending from Japanese visitors increased 3.8% to nearly $228 million.