Whether it's to escape the cold on the mainland or just to relax on the beach, travelers continue to choose Hawaii as their vacation destination. Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) released preliminary statistics for the month of November that shows an increase in both the amount of visitors and the amount cash their spending.

"[I've] always dreamed of coming here,"  said Elba Kotto, a visitor from Guatemala. 

"It's better than being in 20 degree weather," added Maryland resident, Logan Nocket.

According to the report, visitors have spent a total of $1.29 billion this November, which is 4.5 percent more compared to last year. HTA says that pushes the state’s total in visitor spending from over the past 11 months to $15.15 billion, which exceeds every full-year total up to 2016.

"Yesterday, I think we spent close to $200 on meals.. but were on vacation so we brought extra money," said Caimilla Balnaves, a visitor from Australia.

So far throughout this year, HTA says not only has visitor spending increased, the number of travelers visiting Hawaii has also gone up by 4.9%-- to 8,502,545 compared to 8,106,066 last year. In addition, tourist are spending on average $200 per person, daily. 

"Everyone is getting their share. The restaurants are getting their share.. The malls are getting their share.. Here on the beach we're getting our share," said  surf instructor, Corbin Peleiholani.

HTA reports that state tax revenue generated by the tourism industry has risen to $1.77 billion, which is $109.5 million more than a year ago at this time.

"It really is the efforts of all the global partners creating the travel demand, the travel demand then creates the demand for access.. Then the flights come in and then that access creates additional hotel bookings, restaurant bookings.. activity bookings," HTA president and CEO, George Szigeti said. 

According to HTA, last month air seat capacity on planes flying to the Hawaii Islands went up about 5 percent, with significantly more serving the Big Island and Kauai. And with multiple major airlines recently announcing either new or extended service to the Hawaiian Islands, HTA hopes visitor spending and arrivals will continue to rise in 2018.

Although we are still in the last month of the year, HTA is hoping to finish strong with a continued increase in visitor arrivals and spending. HTA says with the holidays, December traditionally tends to be a good month for the tourism industry.