Hawaii Hawaii officials raise tourism estimates for the year in Q4 forecast By Shane Nelson / December 05, 2011 Share 1 -- The Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism now expects total visitor spending to increase 13.1% year over year in 2011, a 1.1% increase over the forecast it made in September. According to the DBEDT’s Quarterly Statistical and Economic Report released Nov. 27, state officials are also projecting a 2.5% increase in total visitor arrivals to the state this year, decreasing the estimate it made in September by five-tenths of a percent. “The double-digit visitor expenditure growth is very encouraging,” said Hawaii DBEDT Director Richard C. Lim. “Too often we focus on how many visitors are arriving. It's very important to look at how much they are spending, and this is the driver of our economy.” DBEDT officials are expecting a total of 7.2 million visitors to Hawaii in 2011 and $12.6 billion in total visitor expenditures.The agency is also projecting significant growth in 2012, forecasting a total of 7.5 million arrivals and $13.3 billion in spending.