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Visitor industry goals downgraded

By Allison Schaefers

LAST UPDATED: 5:10 p.m. HST, Mar 5, 2014

State tourism officials have downgraded their arrivals expectation for 2014 by 3.5 percent to 8.4 million due to continued industry slowing.

The less ambitious goal, which was announced at spring tourism marketing update on Wednesday at the Hawaii Convention Center, assumes that the state will be able to attract some 300,000 fewer visitors to Hawaii this year than originally targeted. 

The new goal tops last year's record 8.24 million arrivals by 2.5 percent. However, HTA Vice President of Brand Management David Uchiyama said that the figure represents further contraction in the pace of growth, which began leveling off in the second half of 2013.

Likewise, state tourism officials have downgraded their visitor spending expectation to $15.1 billion for 2014. That figure is 3.9 percent higher than $14.5 billion investor spending that Hawaii realized in 2013; however, it's 6.1 percent below the HTA's earlier spending target. 

"North America is expected to be flat this year and that hurts, because it's our largest market," Uchiyama said. "All of our other markets are primarily showing growth, but most are not as aggressive as our earlier projections." 

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