- Associated Press - Thursday, January 30, 2014

HONOLULU (AP) - Tourism officials say Hawaii welcomed fewer visitors for the fourth straight month in December.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority said Thursday more than 720,000 travelers came to the islands during the month. That’s 1.9 percent less than the same month the previous year.

Spending by visitors also declined for the fourth straight month.

The agency says airline fuel surcharges and less favorable currency exchange rates have slowed bookings and hampered growth.

Even so, the number of visitors to the islands hit a record 8.2 million for the full year. This exceeds the previous record of 8 million marked in 2012.

Tourism Authority CEO Mike McCartney says the slowing trend will likely continue during the first half of 2014. He says the agency is adjusting its marketing plans.

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