D.C. tourists spend $6 billion, Ski profits melt, No thrill ride, Next stop: Japan, Staging all Shakespeare plays, Busy beach


D.C. tourists spend $6 billion

Tourism officials in Washington, D.C., say spending by visitors grew more than 6 percent last year to $6 billion, outpacing the growth in visitor numbers. Statistics released Tuesday by the tourism bureau Destination D.C. show Washington had about 16.1 million domestic visitors in 2011. That's up 3.7 percent from 15.5 million domestic visitors in 2010. International visitors are counted separately. The hospitality industry is the second largest employer in the nation's capital after the federal government, covering 76,000 jobs. That's a 7 percent increase over 2010, when the industry counted 64,500 jobs.

Ski profits melt

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A trade group says preliminary numbers show U.S. ski areas tallied an estimated 51 million skier and snowboarder visits this past season, which represents a roughly 15 percent drop from the previous season. Many U.S. ski resorts weathered a mild winter with below-average snowfall in the 2011-2012 season. The National Ski Areas Association expects to release a final estimate in July.

No thrill ride

A hustler cabbie accused of preying on arriving passengers at New York's Kennedy Airport has pleaded guilty to unlawful imprisonment in a fare gone awry. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Bhupinder Singh faces six months in jail. On Feb. 12, two officers tried to warn passengers getting into a cab that he is known to charge sky-high rates for a ride into Manhattan, but the driver locked the doors and took off, then got into a car crash.

Next stop: Japan

Hawaiian Airlines plans to start flying to Sapporo, its fourth destination in Japan. The airline said Wednesday it hopes to begin service from Honolulu to New Chitose Airport on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido in November. It must obtain Japanese government approval to begin flights. The airline also started flying to Seoul, South Korea last year. Next month, it will begin a non-stop route to New York City.

Now staging all

Shakespeare plays

The Utah Shakespeare Festival wants to give its patrons even the most obscure of the Bard's works. The company plans to produce each of William Shakespeare's 38 plays over the next 12 years through a program called Complete the Canon. The effort, which begins in June with "Titus Andronicus," will include Shakespeare's 10 history plays presented in chronological order. The company's website includes a checklist so patrons can keep track of the plays they've seen.

No-business beach

Lawmakers, business owners and residents in Kailua are split over a new proposal to ban all commercial activity at the city's beach park. The move would ban all commercial activity at Kailua Beach Park except for filming. Council member Ikaika Anderson says he expanded the bill after hearing from residents. But others think a lack of beach activities such as kayaking and wind surfing would keep tourists away from the eastern Oahu town.

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