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Record numbers of tourists come to Hawaii in 2012

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 25, 2013 at 9:20 am •  Published: January 25, 2013

The agency expects continued growth this year, with the visitors expected to exceed 8 million in 2013 and spending forecast to top $14.8 billion.

McCartney said the agency would aim to continue growing Japanese markets, increase the frequency of flights from South Korea and China and build on growth in travel from the U.S. East Coast region. Taiwan is another promising market: Hawaiian Airlines plans to fly nonstop between Taipei and Honolulu starting in July.

More than 80 percent of Oahu hotel rooms were full during the year on average. Even higher percentages were occupied during peak travel periods. Yet McCartney said Hawaii has room to welcome more visitors.

He said there's opportunity for growth during the off-peak months around April and May and October and November.

There's also potential on neighbor islands, where occupancy hovered above 70 percent on Maui and Kauai and above 60 percent on the Big Island, he said.

"There is capacity, and strategically going forward, we're going to try to improve those numbers," McCartney said.