HTA lowers Hawaii visitor projections for 2001

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HONOLULU -- In the face of a gloomy economic future, the Hawaii Tourism Authority downgraded its visitor arrival, spending and length of stay targets for the rest of the year.

During discussion of the new targets at HTA's monthly meeting, members said that the revised targets agreed upon will be a challenge to meet. The 2001 targets originally came out in November 2000.

Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau president Tony Vericella, whose organization is under contract with the HTA to market the state to tourists and meetings planners, told HTA members that marketing dollars earmarked for later in the year to snag leisure travel and meetings business have been rescheduled to be used now.

Vericella also said wholesalers in the market are likely to start hitting the consumer and agent markets with more urgent advertising and incentive programs that are aimed at specific sales prices with an urgency to vacation now as opposed to more image-based marketing that was being used up until now.

The HTA is now targeting visitor arrivals from the West Coast to Hawaii will grow by 1% in 2001 over 2000 as opposed to an original target of 3% and arrivals from the East Coast will grow by 3% as opposed to 3.2%.

Length of stay from the West Coast is expected to decline by 1.5% to 9.73 days while length of stay from the East Coast will decline by 1% to 10.14 days.

Per person spending per day, which is "the biggest wild card out there," according to Vericella, is targeted to grow just slightly by 0.5% to $157, down from an earlier prediction of $174 for this year.

Visitors from the East Coast were targeted to spend $201 per day in 2001, but now the HTA is predicting those visitors will spend $187 a day this year.

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