Hawaii tourism officials slightly lower ambitions

Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - Hawaii tourism officials have slightly lowered their ambitions for the state's biggest industry this year as growth slows.

Hawaii Tourism Authority Vice President David Uchiyama said Wednesday the state agency aims to bring 8.4 million travelers to the islands this year.

That's less than the 8.7 million the agency targeted earlier.

But it's still 2.5 percent higher than the record number of visitors who came to Hawaii last year.

Last week the agency released data showing visitors spent 5 percent less in January than the same month last year. It was the fifth straight month of spending declines.

CEO Mike McCartney says the tourism economy is starting to plateau after two years of record-breaking growth.

Officials say fluctuating exchange rates, growing competition and the increasing cost of a Hawaiian vacation are contributing to the spending drop.

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