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Panama’s Promotion and Marketing of Tourism; Tourism in Central America

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Panama’s search for tourism Holy Grail

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The Thousand Polleras Parade will be held on Jan 12 In  Las Tablas,  hoping to lure early arriving World  Youth  Day (Jan. 22-27 2019) pilgrims to experience Panama culture says the Tourism Authority.
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A  SPANISH consulting company will receive $127,000 to update  Panama’s Tourism Master Plan 2007-2020 in recognition of the reality that international tourism has changed due to technology and social networks says the   Tourism Authority, (ATP).

The stuttering body has  hired Augusto Huéscar  who has worked as a consultant for the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)  to update the  plan  drawn up 11 years ago  that has  advanced with “unequal performance indices” in each of the points, under the direction of  a stream of different directors including   criminally charged, Martinelli confident  Saloman Shamah, who while in office had his US visa suspended and publicly admitted he had no knowledge of the tourism industry.

With guidelines proposed by the ATP, Huéscar will produce yet another report on “the problem” and analyze the 26 destinations identified in the current plan to identify 8 priority destinations to “make a diagnosis” for its potential development.

It seeks once again to reduce the imbalance between tourism in the city and the rest of the country.

Gustavo Him, the current administrator of the ATP, who will likely be replaced in the next government, commented that the idea is to give continuity to the original plan and determine what was not done and what can be done now.

Ernesto Orillac, president of the Panamanian Association of Tour Operators, commented that the most important aspect of the update is that the opinion of the private sector be taken into account.

Whether the opinions of visitors disillusioned by poor service and garbage littered highways will be included in the latest study is a moot point.

The $ 126, 192, cost of the latest analysis will be divided into three payments that will be made against delivery of updates of the plan.

Him said that different administrations did not give continuity to the master plan and the assigned budget was insufficient to execute the projects it embodied.

His successor will likely face the same problem, without the artificial fillip to tourism figures provided by the World Youth Day event in  January.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/business/panamas-search-for-tourism-holy-grail

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Hoteliers want more spent on tourism promotion

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The Panama Hotel Association (Apatel)  is calling for more economic resources for the International Tourism Promotion Fund, which has a budget of $20 million a year a figure well below that spent by other countries in the region.

During the act of taking office as re-elected president of the Board of Directors of the Association Armando Rodríguez, said that other countries invest between $40 million to $100 million on their international promotion.

“The positive thing is that we have an infrastructure” to serve the tourist. What we need is to get is more capital for the promotion fund because we are going to have to compete with major  destinations”, said  Rodríguez,

Last year the Panamanian president, Juan Carlos Varela, signed the internal regulations of the Promotion Fund, whose annual budget is $20 million.

From August to December 2018, the Fund disposed of $8 million dollars, and the remaining $12 million will be received from January to July of this year, according to official information.

The trust funds created by law are used to promote Panama abroad through public and private management that has contributions from the central government, municipalities and private companies.

For the hospitality industry, Rodríguez said that Apatel will encourage three pillars, – raising tourism as a State policy, promoting the Capital of the Tourism Promotion Fund and achieving more training of human resources.

In a statement to Acan-Efe that he expects hotel occupation to grow 3% in 2019. At the end of 2018 it was around 40 percent.

He added that in recent years thousands of jobs have been lost within the sector,

The administrator of the Tourism Authority (ATP), Gustavo Him said that the country has intensified with the international promotion campaigns in the key markets of North America, South America, and Europe. But observers familiar with tourism promotion say that the money spent is minuscule compared to other countries.

Him  also stressed that the Government’s investments in infrastructure and convention centers will strengthen the country as a destination

According to figures from the ATP, in the period from January to September last year  1,821,657 visitors arrived in the country, w a decrease of 2.8 percent compared to the same period in 2017, that is, 52,206 fewer people.

Tourism represents around 10 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) of Panama, one of the most dynamic countries in the region, which in 2017 experienced economic growth of 5.4 percent.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/hoteliers-want-more-spent-on-tourism-promotion

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Tourism in Central America Loses Strength

In 2018, the number of international tourists who arrived in the countries of the region fell 2% compared to 2017, in contrast to the increases of 4% and 3% recorded in North and South America, respectively.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

According to the report of the World Tourism Organization (WTO) presented on January 21, the results recorded last year in Central America are partly because of behavior in some countries, as in the cases of Panama and Nicaragua were recorded declines in tourism.

The UNWTO statement notes that "... The Americas (+3%) received 217 million international arrivals in 2018, with mixed results in all destinations. Growth was led by North America (+4%) and followed by South America (+3%), while Central America and the Caribbean (both -2%) had very mixed results."

Days ago, Panamanian authorities reported that in 2018 there were 141,000 fewer tourists than in 2017, as the number of visitors who came to the country in the last two years declined from 5,759,280 to 5,617,948.

See "Tourist Arrivals Close 2018 Downwards"

Tourist companies in Nicaragua reported difficulties last year, since the political crisis the country has been going through since April 2018 has caused multiple losses for the sector. According to the latest report from the Central Bank, last October there was a 22% year-on-year drop in the economic activity of hotels and restaurants.

Not everything was a setback in the region, since in the case of El Salvador good numbers were recorded. According to the Ministry of Tourism, foreign exchange generated in 2018 totaled $1.417 million, 12.7% more than what was reported in 2017, and the number of tourists who arrived in the country increased from 2.2 million to 2.5 million for the years concerned.

Also see "Optimism for Tourism in El Salvador"

Regarding the outlook for global tourism identified by UNWTO for 2019, positive aspects such as the more stable oil price, better air connectivity and strong demand from emerging emitting markets are highlighted.

The risks foreseen for the sector are an economic slowdown, geopolitical and commercial tensions, uncertainty for investors and travelers.

See UNWTO report and results presentation.

 

https://www.centralamericadata.com/en/article/main/Tourism_in_Central_America_Loses_Strength

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Panama tourism down  2%

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Posted 26/01/2019
 
PANAMA  received  141,000 fewer tourist in 1918 than the previous  year  part of a two percent regional decrease according to the report of the  UN World Tourism Organization (WTO) presented on January 21.

With hotel occupancy rates down to 40 percent Panama’s hotel   and restaurant industry has laid off over 7,000 workers in the last 12 months and hoteliers have claimed that the government allocate too little funding to tourism promotion. On the other hand it has spent multi-millions on World Youth Day (WYD) which will  give a statistical upward blip to the figures, and the Varela administration is predicting long term benefits  from the event, but tourism operators are not holding their breath.

The UNWTO statement notes that "... The Americas (+3%) received 217 million international arrivals in 2018, with mixed results in all destinations. Growth was led by North America (+4%) followed by South America (+3%), while Central America and the Caribbean (both -2%) had very mixed results."

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/travel/panama-tourism-down-2

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Panama improves tourism with digital platforms, campaigns and conventions

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 15:27

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The restructuring of digital platforms, tourist promotion caravans and the organization of large convention events reflect a more renewed and active face of Panamanian tourism that aims to be a mark for travel abroad, said an official source Monday.

In the last five years, the Tourism Authority of Panama (TAP) has set out to establish a more digital presence with a view to capturing foreign tourists seeking new experiences, as well as those who envision doing business or investing in the hotel sector or recreational.

In a management report for 2014-2019, the administrator of Tourism of Panama, Gustavo Him, said that the administration focuses on concrete actions to provide an efficient service that guarantees competitiveness and sustainability in tourism offers in the different regions of the country.

"Our vision of work has been to promote Panama as the ideal country to visit and do business, this is achieved by promoting infrastructure projects, products and tourism facilities in different parts of the territory", said Him.

At the same time, he added that they have managed to shore up tourism through digital platforms, national and international fairs, cultural events and the realization of major conventions.

The administrator said that the TAP currently develops heavy investments in terms of tourism structure, reaching more than 213 million dollars.

Among the works delivered are the first Coffee Exploration Center in the town of Boquete, in the western province of Chiriquí; the Frontera de Paso Canoas Building, bordering with Costa Rica; and the conditioning of the boardwalk and tourist facilities of Taboga Island, in the Pacific.

Other projects that are expected to be delivered in the coming months, as the Green Convention Center in Boquete, the modern Amador Convention Center (ACC), on the banks of the Panama Canal; and the revitalization of the Anton Valley.

He assured to Acan-Efe that the TAP also makes investments in information projects, such as signaling plans that include location data and tourist attractions; the billboards on the roads; and photographic wiew points, which are 19 throughout the national territory.

The promotion and celebration of cultural events is another agenda item that the Authority promotes, highlighting among its main the Parade of Las Mil Polleras, Carnival of Panama: a country in celebration and the day of discounts "Panama Black Weekend”.

Without leaving behind the international events, the holder of the portfolio specified that at least 11 macro congresses and conventions on medicine, engineering, sports and food industries will be held in Panama between 2019 and 2022.

Him detailed that another of the objectives that will underpin tourism is the implementation of the International Tourism Promotion Fund, which is endowed with a budget of 20 million dollars.

The funds of the trust created by law are used to promote Panama abroad through public and private management that has contributions from the central government, municipalities and private companies.

"To increase this Fund you also have to resort to private company, given that the Government gives a part, we believe that the Fund has an amount that is not negligible and if the flow of tourists increases I do not think there is any objection that increases its amount for the next budget", he said.

Tourism represents around 10 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) of Panama, one of the most dynamic countries in the region, which in 2017 experienced an economic growth of 5.4 percent.

 

https://www.panamatoday.com/panama/panama-improves-tourism-digital-platforms-campaigns-and-conventions-9231

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A Lot of Investment, Few Results

The low performance of tourism in Panama in recent years does not follow the high investments that the Panamanian State has been making in airport and port infrastructure.

Monday, March 4, 201

Between 2017 and 2018, the number of visitors who entered Panamathrough Tocumen International Airport grew by just 0.3%, the equivalent of some 6,000 more passengers. The numbers for 2017 compared to 2016 were not good either: Although in the period concerned the average expenditure of tourists grew, the total number of visitors remained unchanged, at 2.5 million people.

These figures contrast radically with the investments that have been made in the expansion of the Tocumen terminal in recent years, as well as in other infrastructure projects linked to tourism.

"... ‘There is important work to be done to increase the flow of these tourists' (i.e. those who come to Panama to spend more than one night), acknowledged the general manager of Tocumen, Oscar Ramirez during the presentation of five-year results of the air terminal a few days ago. 75% of the 16.24 million passengers who passed through Tocumen last year, did so in transit."

"... However, the pace of Tocumen's investments exceeds, by several digits, the airport's revenues. Tocumen's latest public financial statement reveals that construction works in progress, counted as assets until September 2018, reached the value of $1,071.78 million. That amount expanded 27.5% in just one year, with the main part of that investment benefiting Odebrecht, which is currently executing the work."

As reported by Laestrella.com.pa, another of the pillars of Panama's tourism attraction strategy is the "hub" concept of the Americas, with which Tocumen seeks to position itself as a bridge to other markets. The problem is that, given that the country is not a major issuer of passengers, the strategy is based on connecting travelers from different parts, for which significant sums have been invested in the conditioning of the airport to serve these connecting routes.

At the same time, the Panamanian government has also invested heavily in international tourism promotion strategies, as well as in subsidies to foreign airlines to feed connecting routes and attract more tourists.

"... It is an aggressive economic bet with public funds, which added to the $500 million invested in the old town of Colon in the hope of rising as a tourist city, surpass two billion, placed on the table to reactivate the industry without chimney and attract tourists in mass that the country waits so long."

Source: laestrella.com.pa

 

https://www.centralamericadata.com/en/article/main/A_Lot_of_Investment_Few_Results

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Posted (edited)

Regularly scheduled flights into Panama are too expensive. Tourists can find cheaper destinations with more developed activities elsewhere.

Edited by Keith Woolford

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26 minutes ago, Keith Woolford said:

Regularly scheduled flights into Panama are too expensive. Tourists can find cheaper locations with more developed activities elsewhere.

 

Too expensive?  COPA's flights to the west coast of the US have more than doubled since I've moved to Boquete.  That on top of atrocious rental car rates and poor customer service Panama's tourism industry will continue to suffer.

 

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Panama’s failing tourism ploys 

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Tocumen. a transit hub

Posted 05/03/2019
 
The low performance of tourism in Panama in recent years does match up to the high investments that the Panamanian State has been making in airport and port infrastructure.

Between 2017 and 2018, the number of visitors who entered Panama through Tocumen International Airport grew by just 0.3%, the equivalent of some 6,000 additional passengers. The numbers for 2017 compared to 2016 were not good either: Although in the period concerned the average expenditure of tourists grew, the total number of visitors remained unchanged, at 2.5 million, reports  CentralAmericaData

The figures contrast radically with the investments that have been made in the expansion of the Tocumen terminal in recent years, as well as in other infrastructure projects linked to tourism.

"... ‘There is important work to be done to increase the flow of these tourists' (i.e. those who come to Panama to spend more than one night), acknowledged Tocumen dDirector, Oscar Ramirez during the presentation of the five-year results of the air terminal. “75% of the 16.24 million passengers who passed through Tocumen last year, did so in transit."

"... The pace of Tocumen's investments exceeds, by several digits, the airport's revenues. Tocumen's latest public financial statement reveals that construction works in progress, counted as assets until September 2018, reached of $1,071.78 billion. That amount expanded 27.5% in just one year, with the main part of that investment benefiting Odebrecht, which is currently executing the work."

As reported by La Estrella. another of the pillars of Panama's tourism attraction strategy is the "hub of the Americas,” concept with which Tocumen seeks to position itself as a bridge to other markets. The problem is that, given that the country is not a  major provider of passengers, the strategy is based on connecting travelers from different parts, for which significant sums have been invested in the conditioning of the airport to serve these connecting routes.

At the same time, the Panamanian government has also invested heavily in international tourism promotion strategies, as well as in subsidies to foreign airlines to feed connecting routes and attract more tourists.

"... It is an aggressive economic bet with public funds, which added to the $500 million invested in the old town of Colon in the hope of raising it as a tourist city, surpass $2 billion, placed on the table to reactivate the industry without a  fire to attract tourists en mass for which the country waits so long."

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/travel/panamas-failing-tourism-ploys

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i just checked flight costs to Canada.  COPA in some cases is nearly double the cost of Air Canada.  I would prefer to fly COPA but not at such a premium.  I would guess that it is the same coming to Panama.  

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Panama’s fewer tourists spend more

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Posted 08/03/2019
 
Panama received a total of 2.4 million tourists in 2018, a 1.4% decrease from the previous year,  but spending increased by 3.3% to $4.605 billion

The Tourism Authority (AT P) reported on Friday, Mar. 3 that the United contributed the largest number (over 300,000), followed by Colombia (n 210,000) and Brazil (84,000).

Spain contributed the most tourists from Euroe with71,000  followed by  Germany (35,000)  according to ATP statistics.

"In South America, Venezuela was for years one of the strongest markets, however, it registered a decrease in the entrance of visitor, which has been recovering with the arrival of travelers from the European market," said Tourism Director Gustavo Him.

The average stay time was 8 days and the expenditure cost per tourist was around $1,800 includes lodging, meals, purchases, and tickets to tourist sites

The Tocumen International Airport was the main gateway for tourists

followed by Paso Canoas, the border crossing with Costa Rica, while the ports registered a the decrease in the arrival of foreign visitors.

Tourism accounts for about 10% of gross domestic product (GDP) of Panama, Which experienced economic growth of 3.7% in 2018.

The editor of Lonely Planet travel guides included Panama in its list of the ten best destinations in 2019 for its biodiversity, beaches, its indigenous culture and the canal

The Government has acknowledged on multiple occasions that the tourism sector is experiencing certain "difficulties", a situation that the hotel association attributes to the oversupply of rooms and the delay in launching an international promotion campaign reports La Critica.

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/travel/panamas-fewer-tourists-spend-more

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