The center of the Baixa (Downtown) of Ponta Delgada, seen from the city hall.

County officials with the Mayor’s Office, Office of Economic Development, as well as representatives from Kaua‘i Community College and Hawaiian cultural practitioners will visit Kauai’s sister city in Portugal for the first time to exchange information on agricultural and tourism practices, energy and sustainability techniques, and strengthen higher education relationships between Kaua‘i and Portugal, according to a county news release.

“My hope is that this partnership and relationship will grow as Kaua‘i continues to progress and prosper,” Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. said. “It has been our initiative to focus on the exchange of tourism practices, cultural techniques, agriculture, energy, and education.”

Joining the Kaua‘i delegation will be Rep. Lynn DeCoite, who represents District 13 (Haiku, Hāna, Kaupo, Kipahulu, Nahiku, Paia, Kaho‘olawe, Lāna‘i, Moloka‘i, Molokini).

“I am happy to be joining the Kaua‘i delegation on this trip, as it is an opportunity to learn about our cultural roots and history, and exchange ideas beneficial for everyone for Hawai‘i and Portugal,” DeCoite said.

A panoramic view of Funchal, on the island of Madeira.

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 Hawai‘i over 140 years ago.

The County of Kaua‘i will establish a friendship city 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 a 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,” said Mayor Carvalho.

Part of the fisherman’s wharf of the Port of Ponta Delgada.

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,” said Mayor Carvalho. “We are sure the next administration will welcome the City of Ponta Delgada with open arms when its delegation makes its journey to Kaua‘i.”

Both the city and the county have an agriculture-rich history and continues to utilize the industry to grow the economy, while keeping with their ancestral roots and traditions.

Joining the Kaua‘i delegation are representatives from Kaua‘i Community College and Hālau Ka Lei Mokihana o Leinā‘ala to expand on ideas of cultural exchange and deepen standards of higher education between Portugal and Kaua‘i.