State economists predict Hawaii will continue to see steady growth this year, especially in the tourism sector, which saw 15 percent growth in visitor expenditures last year.
Hawaii visitor expenditures are expected to grow another 6.4 percent in 2012, the largest increase of the economic indicators referenced in the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism’s first-quarter state forecast.
The state expects positive growth in tourism, jobs, personal income and Hawaii’s gross domestic product not only for this year, but for 2013, 2014 and 2015.
“Moderate but steady growth is being reflected in most of our key economic indicators,” DBEDT Director Richard C. Lim said in a statement. “So, we feel that the state is still on the right course for continued recovery.”
Overall visitor arrivals, which grew 3.8 percent to 7.6 million in 2011, are forecast to grow by another 4.4 percent this year — one percentage point higher than the previous forecast — to nearly 7.8 million. Visitor spending, which hit $12.8 billion last year, is projected to grow another 6.4 percent in 2012, an increase of 0.8 percentage points from the last forecast, to nearly $13.6 billion.
The state predicts the number of wage and salary jobs will grow by 1.5 percent to 609,800, from 600,600 jobs in 2011. That is slightly less than the 1.6 percent growth prediction in the last forecast.
Personal income in Hawaii is forecast to increase steadily by between 4 percent and 5 percent starting this year and going through 2015, the report said.
The state’s real gross domestic product forecast of $61.1 billion this year will be up 1.8 percent, unchanged from the previous forecast.