LIHUE — The Hawaii Tourism Authority says visitor spending jumped more than 12 percent in March compared with the same month last year.
The state agency said Friday spending by tourists topped $1.4 billion last month.
The number of tourists coming to Hawaii exceeded 800,000, which is 2 percent more than in March 2016.
Kauai welcomed 102,368 visitors in March, a 5.1 percent increase over March 2016, led by growth from the U.S. East market, plus 18.2. Visitors to Kauai spent $153.3 million in March, a 17 percent increase over the same month the previous year.
For the first three months of 2017, Kauai saw 296,105 visitors, a 5.6 percent increase over 2016. Visitor spending for those three months was $497 million, a 20.5 percent increase.
Japanese travelers led the gains statewide. That’s attributed to Hawaiian Airlines’ launch of a direct flight from Tokyo to Kailua-Kona in December and increased air service from Japan to Honolulu.
The agency says Japanese visitor spending surged more than 20 percent. Travelers from Japan grew by 9 percent.
CEO George Szigeti is calling March “a truly remarkable month.” He says it’s a sign the Hawaiian Islands continue to be a favorite destination for global travelers.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.