The processing of agricultural products has been the leading industry in Hawaii since the large-scale development of sugarcane and pineapple plantations. Although there has been considerable diversification since the 1940s, raw sugar, pineapples, beef, and other foodstuffs still account for one-third of the income generated by industry. Manufacturing was formerly confined mostly to the Honolulu area, but has now been extended to other islands.
Sugarcane is refined at sugar mills on the plantations to produce raw sugar and molasses, most of which is then shipped to the mainland for final refining and packaging. Bagasse, a sugarcane by-product, has been used in making wallboard and paper and as fuel to generate electricity. Most of the state’s pineapple crop has been canned, frozen, or made into juice or juice concentrate for sale on the mainland. Tropical fruits, especially guava, passion fruit, and papaya, are processed for marketing in the form of canned fruit, juices, jams, and jellies.
Heavy industry in Hawaii is limited mainly to oil refining and the manufacture of steel products, chemicals, and cement. These activities are based mostly on imported raw materials. Besides cement, Hawaii has produced such items for the construction industry as laminated wood beams and bathroom fixtures.
The state’s textile and clothing industry, which supplies both the export and tourist trade, is based on the manufacture of such typical Hawaiian fashions as the brightly colored aloha shirt and the muumuu dress. Other economic activities include printing and publishing and the manufacture of plastic items, furniture, mattresses, perfume, and other consumer goods. Jewelry made from Hawaii’s black, pink, and gold coral is popular with tourists.
The tourist industry is the leading source of income for Hawaii. Oahu is by far the most heavily visited island, but construction and promotion of tourist facilities have helped to popularize the other islands. More than one-half of the visitors are from the mainland, with most of the rest coming from Canada and Japan. The numbers of people coming from the U.S. mainland has decreased in recent years, although a sharp rise in visitors from other countries—particularly Japan—has offset the decline. Tourist expenditures totaled $12.5 billion in 2002. Hawaii is dependent on sea and air transportation facilities for its economic growth, based on trade and tourism. Hawaii also relies on air and sea links between its component islands.
Most visitors arrive in Hawaii by air. The flight of 3,900 km (2,400 mi) from San Francisco to Honolulu takes less than five hours by commercial airliner. The state has a total of 8 airports. Nearly all of Hawaii’s interisland passenger travel is by airplane, and the state has 5 of the 100 busiest airports in the country, including Honolulu, 23rd busiest in the nation. "Hawaii" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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