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Hawaii spending by visitors drops 3.5 per cent; declines from western US lead the way

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HONOLULU, Hawaii - Spending by visitors in Hawaii fell by 3.5 per cent in March compared with the same month one year ago to $1.2 billion, the Hawaii Tourism Authority said Monday.

The number of travellers to Hawaii also dropped, sinking 5.2 per cent 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.

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

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

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

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

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