In business, culture, natural beauty and quality of life indicators, Hawai‘i and Goa, India could indeed be sisters. Goa is visited by large numbers of international tourists each year for its white sand beaches and world heritage architecture. It also has a top ranking for “best quality of life” in India and the highest gross domestic product (GDP) per capita among all Indian states.
For those and other reasons, Governor Ige has signed a sister-state agreement — Hawai‘i’s first with a jurisdiction in India. The agreement will promote trade, tourism, information technology and an exchange of health and wellness, agriculture, culinary, education and cultural programs between private sector organizations and universities of both states. “The U.S.-India partnership is an important one, and the Hawai‘i-Goa relationship will help strengthen this bond,” the governor said. “We welcome people from Goa to invest in Hawai‘i’s economy and share their traditional and cultural values with us.”
U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard met with political leaders of Goa in 2014 about establishing a closer relationship with Hawai‘i. Dr. Raj Kumar, president of the Hawai‘i chapter of the Indian-America Friendship Council, state Sen. Brian Taniguchi and former state Rep. Ken Ito were also instrumental in passing legislation for this relationship. “Our new sister-state relationship allows Hawai‘i to advance business, academic and cultural opportunities,” said Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism director Luis Salaveria. India is not only the world’s largest democracy, but also has one of the fastest-growing economies.