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Gazette Premium Content Hawaii spending by visitors drops 3.5 percent

Associated Press Updated: April 28, 2014 at 7:30 pm

HONOLULU (AP) — Spending by visitors in Hawaii fell by 3.5 percent in March compared with the same month one year ago to $1.2 billion, the Hawaii Tourism Authority said Monday.

The number of travelers to Hawaii also dropped, sinking 5.2 percent to fewer than 729,000 visitors.

The state tourism agency has been anticipating slower growth following two record-breaking years for the industry, CEO Mike McCartney said in a statement. The outlook for the summer is strong, McCartney said, but the fall season should be challenging because of increased competition, a strengthening U.S. dollar and a hike in Japan's consumption tax.

Travelers from the state's biggest market — the western region of the U.S. — led the declines in March.

There were 9.2 percent fewer visitors to Hawaii from the area, and they spent 14 percent less money while here.

About 2 percent more Japanese visitors, who make up the state's biggest international market, came to Hawaii. Spending by travelers from Japan declined 0.6 percent.

By county, spending fell 9.5 percent on Oahu and 4.3 percent on Kauai as the number of visitors to both places declined. But spending climbed 5.7 percent in Maui County and 4.9 percent on Hawaii Island. Both Maui and Hawaii counties also had more visitors in March.

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