Kailua is a census-designated place (CDP) in Hawaii County, Hawaii, United States, in the North Kona District of the Island of Hawaii. The population was 11,975 at the 2010 census, up from 9,870 at the 2000 census. It is the center of commerce and of the tourist industry on West Hawaii. Its post office is designated Kailua-Kona to differentiate it from Kailua located on the windward side of Oahu island, and it is sometimes referred to as Kona in everyday speech. The city is served by Kona International Airport, located just to the north in the adjacent Kalaoa CDP. Kailua-Kona was the closest major settlement to the epicenter of the 2006 Kiholo Bay earthquake.HistoryThe community was established by King Kamehameha I to be his seat of government when he was chief of Kona before he consolidated rule of the archipelago, and it later it became the capital of the newly unified Kingdom of Hawaii. The capital later moved to Lāhainā, and then to Honolulu. Royal fishponds at Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park were the hub of unified Hawaiian culture. The town later functioned as a retreat of the Hawaiian royal family. Up until the late 1900s, Kailua-Kona was primarily a small fishing village. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries the region has undergone a real estate and construction boom fueled by tourism and investment.