Hawaii (island) - Economy

Economy

Sugarcane was the backbone of Hawaiʻi Island's economy for more than a century (see Sugar plantations in Hawaii). In the mid-twentieth century, sugar plantations began to downsize and in 1996, the last plantation closed.

Most of Hawaiʻi Island's economy is based on tourism (see Tourism in Hawaii), centered primarily in resort areas on the western coast of the island in the North Kona and South Kohala districts. More recently, Hawaiʻi Island has become a focus for sustainable tourism.

Diversified agriculture is a growing sector of the economy. Major crops include Macadamia nuts, papaya, flowers, tropical and temperate vegetables, and coffee beans. Only coffee grown in the Kona District of this island may be branded Kona coffee. The island's orchid agriculture is the largest in the state, and resulted in the unofficial nickname "The Orchid Isle." The island is home to one of the United States' largest cattle ranches: Parker Ranch, on 175,000 acres (708 km2) in Waimea. Hawaiʻi is also known for Astronomy, and numerous telescopes are operated on the summit of Mauna Kea, where atmospheric clarity is excellent and there is little light pollution.

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