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Tourism surge prompts state to bump up economic forecast

By Star-Advertiser Staff

LAST UPDATED: 10:51 a.m. HST, Nov 15, 2012

Hawaii’s tourism industry continues to outperform expectations, prompting the state to once again revise upward it’s economic growth forecast.

Visitors are on track to spend a record $14.56 billion in the state this year, an 18.8 percent increase over 2011, DBEDT reported in its fourth-quarter forecast released today. That was revised up from DBEDT’s previous forecast of a 15.2 percent rise published three months ago.

The state is expected to host 7.9 million visitors this year, up 9.4 percent from 2011. DBEDT previously estimated an 8.6 percent increase in visitor arrivals.

Overall state domestic product, the broadest measure of Hawaii’s economic activity, is forecast to grow by 1.6 percent in 2012 and 2.4 percent in 2013 after adjusting for inflation. Those forecasts are up from DBEDT’s previous forecast of 1.5 percent and 2.3 percent respectively.

“We remain cautiously optimistic with regard to the state’s immediate economic future,” said Richard Lim, DBEDT director. “Despite political uncertainties often inherent in election cycles -- and recent natural disasters --, the visitor industry is projected to remain strong,” Lim said in a prepared statement.

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