Hawaii officials said Wednesday that continued strength in the visitor industry this year will boost economic growth at a rate that was faster than previously thought, according to the Honolulu Star Advertiser.

The state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism revised upward its forecast for visitor arrivals, spending and overall economic growth for 2012 and 2013. Tourism dominates the state’s economy.

“We remain optimistic and confident that our economy is moving toward a more normal growth curve, Richard Lim, department director, told the local newspaper.

Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the state’s economic performance, is forecast to expand by 2.2% this year and 2.3% in 2013 after adjusting for inflation.

Those figures were revised up from growth rates of 1.8% and 2.0% published in the last quarterly forecast issued in February.

Visitor arrivals are expected to hit a record 7.7 million this year, up 6.5% from 2011.

The department previously forecast a 4.4% annual increase.

The forecast calls for visitor spending to grow by 9% to 13.9 million, another record.

The department in February forecast a 6.4% increase.

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