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Hawaii continues to draw record tourists, revenue

Three years after suffering one of its worst tourist season, Hawaii is taking in record amounts of visitor revenue.

Visitors to the Aloha state spent $1.1 billion in May, a 17.5% increase over the same month last year, setting a new record for the month, according to statistics released Thursday by the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

The island state welcomed 622,899 visitors in the month, a 12.5% increase over the same month last year, also a new record for the month, Hawaii tourism officials said.

The increase marks the second consecutive month of record spending and visitor totals to Hawaii.

The increase demand has prompted several airlines, including Hawaiian, United and Allegiant, to add new direct flights to the islands.

The growth is primarily coming from the East and West Coast of the U.S. as well as Canada and Japan.

In 2009, the lingering effects of the recession and a steep decline in business travel pushed tourist numbers so far down that Hawaiian officials wrote to President Obama for help.

The officials asked the Hawaiian-born president to block any policies that would limit business travel in the future.

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