Cathay Pacific Airways says its revenues slipped 17 per cent below target in October as the slump in tourism bit deeper into its earnings. The company's weekly newsletter said the most disappointing performance last month was in Japan, where revenue came in 44 per cent below forecast. Other poor results were seen in Thailand - where Baht-denominated revenue was 41 per cent below target - and Hong Kong, which also failed to match forecasts. Cathay general manager for sales, distribution and revenue management, Willy Boulter, said the company would face further challenges in coming months due to the weakness in world stock markets and Asia's continued financial problems. The latest revenue figures continue Cathay's dismal showing since tourism nose-dived following the handover. Figures released by the Hong Kong Tourist Association yesterday revealed the fall shows no sign of easing. Visitor arrivals fell 20.7 per cent in October compared to the same month last year, after falling 22 per cent in September, and 24 per cent in August. To combat the fall, Cathay launched a cut-price 'Super Offer' this month in conjunction with the tourist association and the Hong Kong Hotels Association, aimed at putting Hong Kong back on the tourist map. Analysts say the promotion would boost inbound tourism but would also put further pressure on Cathay's yields and might drive revenue down even faster. Concern about slipping tourism has seen most analysts downgrade their forecasts for Cathay's 1998 earnings, with many now expecting attributable profit to decline 30 per cent compared to this year. Many believe a meaningful pick-up in passenger numbers will not occur until 1999. Meanwhile, the carrier faces cost inflation threats associated with its move to the new airport and from rising jet fuel prices. Cathay shares fell 2.7 per cent to $7 yesterday, 57 per cent down since June 30.