WASHINGTON (AP) — Tourism officials in Washington 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.

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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.

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Elliott Ferguson, CEO of Destination D.C., said it’s the sixth year Washington’s travel industry has captured more than $5.5 million from visitors.

Tourism officials are projecting strong numbers in 2013 with Washington set to host 14 major conferences.

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