Hawaii Tourism Authority slices budget

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The Hawaii Tourism Authority has cut its 2009 budget by 20%, from $88 million to $71 million.

The HTA will reduce funding for major festivals, events, Hawaiian cultural programs and visitor assistance because of the state's falling tax revenues.

Lloyd Unebasami, acting president and CEO, said its festival-and-events budget is dropping from $1.4 million to $600,000.

HTA eliminated $2 million in beach restoration money since no projects were slated for the upcoming year. Hawaiian culture initiatives will get $1.3 million instead of $2.3 million.

The greeting program for airports and cruise ships, for which dancers and musicians enhance arrivals and departures, lost its entire $2 million budget.

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