LIHUE — County officials with the Mayor’s Office, Office of Economic Development, as well as representatives from Kauai Community College and Hawaiian cultural practitioners are visiting Kauai’s sister city in Portugal for the first time.
They are there to exchange information on agricultural and tourism practices, energy and sustainability techniques, and strengthen higher education relationships between Kauai and Portugal.
“My hope is that this partnership and relationship will grow as Kauai continues to progress and prosper,” said Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. “It has been our initiative to focus on the exchange of tourism practices, cultural techniques, agriculture, energy and education.”
Joining the five-member Kauai delegation is state Rep. Lynn DeCoite, who represents District 13 (Molokai, Lanai, East Maui).
Also on the trip are representatives from KCC, Halau Ka Lei Mokihana o Leina‘ala, as well as DeCoite, whose trips were funded by the state of Hawaii and Kauai Visitors Bureau.
“I am happy to be joining the Kauai delegation on this trip, as it is an opportunity to learn about our cultural roots and history, and exchange ideas beneficial for everyone for Hawaii and Portugal,” said DeCoite.
The group left Nov. 9 and is set to return Nov. 18.
The cost for the County of Kauai is $18,452.50.
The initial phase of the trip features a visit to the municipality of Funchal, located on the island of Madeira, whose main economic driver is tourism. Additionally, Madeira is home to the first Portuguese immigrants to migrate to Hawaii over 140 years ago.
The County of Kauai will establish a friendship city relationship with Funchal at the municipality’s city hall, and plans to discuss best practices in tourism. Funchal is one of Portugal’s principal cities for tourism, welcoming nearly 1 million visitors a year, and is the leading Portuguese port for cruise liner dockings.
“We can learn much from other premier destinations on how to best manage tourism for the benefit of our people,” Carvalho said.
The second leg of the trip will feature a Sister-City signing ceremony with the city of Ponta Delgada. The Sister-City signing was the wish of late Mayor Bryan Baptiste, who had planned a trip there in the summer of 2008 which was cancelled due to his passing.
“We are following through with the vision of Mayor Baptiste, with this visit to this Sister City he established when he was still with us,” Carvalho said. “We are sure the next administration will welcome the city of Ponta Delgada with open arms when its delegation makes its journey to Kauai.”