Kenoi in Taiwan to Promote Big IslandSeptember 3, 2013, 11:44 AM HST (Updated September 3, 2013, 4:28 PM)
Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi is in Taiwan promoting business, agricultural, educational and cultural ties.
Kenoi traveled to the capital city of Taipei with mayors of eight other cities to take part in the 2013 US Municipal Mayor Delegation to Taiwan. The event began Saturday, Sept. 1, and runs to Saturday, Sept. 7.
He and the other mayors are guests of Taiwan, which is providing their travel and hotel accommodations.
The other mayors invited represent cities in the states of California, Illinois, Tennessee, Texas, Connecticut and Wyoming as well as the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa participated in a similar event in 2012.
Hawaii County has had a sister-city relationship with the County of Haulian in Taiwan since 1971, and former Mayor Shen-Shan Hsieh of the County of Haulian led a delegation to the Big Island in 2007.
Taiwan was recently added to the US Visa Waiver Program to encourage travel between the two nations, and China Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines began direct flights between Taipei and Honolulu this year.
The Big Island’s managing director, Wally Lau, is serving as acting mayor until Kenoi returns on Friday.