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Hawaii tourism officials present industry update

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News,Business,Hawaii

HONOLULU (AP) — State tourism officials gathered in Honolulu on Wednesday to share updates on their outlook for the state's biggest industry and their plans for promoting the islands to travelers around the world.

Top executives from the Hawaii Tourism Authority were scheduled to present at the agency's spring marketing meeting as industry growth slows.

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 said last week the tourism economy is starting to plateau after two years of record-breaking growth.

Fluctuating exchange rates, growing competition and the increasing cost of a Hawaiian vacation have all contributed to the spending drop, he said. The trend should continue through the middle of the year, he said.

University of Hawaii economists have predicted that 0.7 percent more visitors will come to the islands this year than last, a slower rate of growth than the 2.5 percent increase marked in 2013 and the 9.7 percent jump experienced in 2012.

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