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Economic Opportunities



Three major strategic strengths have been noted that tend to give the State an overall comparative advantage for numerous economic development opportunities.

Those strengths are:


Hawaii’s is noted as one of the most beautiful places in the world with a multifaceted climate, geography and geology that can support a range of specialized industries and scientific research. Environment is one of the three major factors attracting visitors to the state (historical sites and unique Hawaiian culture being the other two).

Hundreds of miles of white sand beaches, stunning geographical scenery and moderate subtropical climate compete favorably with any similar tourism destination in the world.

Deep ocean waters, active geology and clear night skies atop the higher mountain peaks facilitate scientific and technological research ranging from ocean research to astronomy and vulcanology.

Oceans, rich volcanic soil and varied growing conditions and geographic isolation provide a strong base for aquaculture, specialty agriculture such as coffee and tropical fruits, and agricultural based genetic research like the fast growing hybrid seed corn research industry.

The high proportion annual days in full sunlight, pervasive trade winds, ocean tides, deep cold ocean water and geothermal resources provide the basis for multifaceted alternate and renewable energy development to replace most of Hawaii’s need for imported petroleum products.

Hawaii’s varied natural environment provides cost savings opportunities for motion picture projects to authentically reproduce numerous Asian and tropical locales in the islands, saving the cost and risks of using locations in foreign countries. This strength is leveraged by Hawaii’s wide ranging manmade environment that provides backdrops for old and current Asian Western set projects and varied architecture that has doubled for settings ranging from Korean commercial districts to European street scenes.

Cultural and Historical Uniqueness

Few, if any other places in the world have the diversity of cultures and strong, host culture identification and celebration as Hawaii. Asian and Western ethnicities and cultures intermingle while the Hawaiian culture with its unique values embracing social stability and environmental awareness serves as a backdrop. Hawaii’s role in U.S. history, particularly in World War II serves to further distinguish Hawaii as a place to live and visit.

Cultural and historical uniqueness combine with environment to make Hawaii one of the most coveted vacation experiences in the World. This has helped grow and sustain a world class tourism industry, particularly since the beginning of commercial jet air travel in the early 1960s.

Cultural uniqueness coupled with Hawaii’s environment also provide a strong attraction for well educated and extraordinarily talented in-migrants who provide valuable skills to the economy and help refocus economic goals and strategies to changing world markets.

Mid Pacific Location

As isolated geographically as it is, Hawaii’s location near the middle of the Pacific Ocean also makes reasonably accessible by commercial air travel to both North America and Asia. In addition its location is a strategic asset to the U.S. for providing military stability to the Pacific region and as part of the nations missile defense system.

For more than a century, Hawaii’s strategic value as a base for U.S. military forces has been proven time and again and is the current home for the U.S. Pacific Command and 25th Infantry Division. This complex is supported by more than 17,450 of Hawaii’s civilian workers and injects more than $5.2 billion into the economy annually.

The combination of mid Pacific location and multicultural environment makes the State attractive as a commercial bridge between East and West. Asian companies find Hawaii a useful testing ground for products, business models and gradual cultural acclimation for staff before entering major U.S. markets and business environments. U.S. companies find expertise in Hawaii for honing Asian business plans and as a Pacific headquarters that enables staff to remain in the U.S. but only hours away by plane from major Asian markets. This is facilitated by the local time zone which permits Honolulu offices to consult with U.S. main offices and Asian offices over the course of the same business day.

Based on the same locational and multicultural assets Hawaii is a convenient place for cultural, political and other meetings that bring representatives of Asian and North American governments and institutions together to address mutual issues. For instance the next major meeting of the organization for Asia‐Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) will bring leaders of the 21 major member economies together in Honolulu in November 2011.

Source: 2010 the Hawaii Statewide Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) – Prefinal