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Panama’s new slant on tourism

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PANAMA’S Tourism Authority (ATP)  is taking a ew approach to its promotional  campaign and veering away from the Sand Sea Sun, and Canal approach of the past.

Taking an outsider’s  point of view  as defined by its  new agency VML, it is looking to attract tourists  seeking adventure.

“In Panama, there are a lot of hidden of gems that you must work for to experience,” says Sean Burns, executive creative director, VML. “A lot of locals haven’t seen the best parts of the country because it entails going off the beaten path.”

“We set out to create an identity that was uniquely Panama – but more than people realized it was,” says Burns. “The work is an invitation into discovering what this incredible country offers.”

The agency is promoting the campaign through broadcast channels, and print ads, pamphlets and PR. Media also includes in-flight, paid Facebook and Instagram, digital display ads, YouTube  emails and other media to direct people to VisitPanama.com.

The strategy is designed to convert people into becoming Panama enthusiasts while they’re looking for flights and researching more “cliché” destinations like Cancun, or Costa Rica, says Burns. “Importantly, while people are in flight to any number of destinations via Copa Airlines they’ll be exposed to how great Panama is – which might just be enough to draw them to Panama next time.”

The Panama Tourism Authority hired  VML to get an outsider’s take on the country. The National Tourism Council (CNT) and the ATP authorized a two-year budget of $20 million to develop an international.  campaign. “We’re part of their target audience – U.S., Canada, Spain and they brought us to the table to create a unique perspective,” says Burns. “Previously, the PTA had been creating advertising based on how they see their country. We portrayed Panama in a way they never would have”. said Burns.

http://www.newsroompanama.com/travel/panama-2/panamas-new-slant-tourism

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Panama City to revitalize tourist attractions

Posted on May 14, 2017 in Panama, Panama

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WHILE Panama’s tourism authority has endorsed a campaign put forward by its new advertising agency to promote the country as an adventure destination the capital city has its own plans to improve its tourist offerings.

A series of projects has been advanced by the Metropolitan Tourism Society, S.A.

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Mi Pueblito heading for makeover

The first actions include a total renewal of the Mi Pueblito complex, located at the foot of Ancon  Hill. The initial phase of improvements includes demolition and reconstruction of Mi Pueblito Afroantillano.

Subsequently, the remodeling of Mi Pueblito Interiorano and Mi Pueblito Indígena will be tendered.

The Metropolitan Tourism Society is a corporation owned by the Municipality of Panama, but its structure allows the participation of the private sector.

Within the plan is the creation of tourist routes and circuits to historical points of the capital city such as Santa Ana, Central Avenue and reverted areas. It also contemplates the creation of shows that recreate past events in the city of Panama.

One of the objectives is to capture the thousands of tourists who are passing through Tocumen airport to take advantage of the waiting time and visit the city.

In 2016, there were 10 million people in transit through the air terminal, but only 2.4 million became tourists the lowest figure in recent years.

http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/panama-city-revitalize-tourist-attractions

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Panamanian culture includes the love of Parades and Carnaval Queens, and the Tourism Ministry sought to capitalize on both today.

The Cinta Costera was closed for the Desfile de Las Reinas or Parade of the Carnaval Queens, who were from about 16 jurisdictions.

Video clip.

 

 

Edited by Keith Woolford

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23 hours ago, Keith Woolford said:

Panama City to revitalize tourist attractions

Posted on May 14, 2017 in Panama, Panama

skyline-620x264.png

WHILE Panama’s tourism authority has endorsed a campaign put forward by its new advertising agency to promote the country as an adventure destination the capital city has its own plans to improve its tourist offerings.

A series of projects has been advanced by the Metropolitan Tourism Society, S.A.

Mi-Pueblito-640-300x225.jpg

Mi Pueblito heading for makeover

The first actions include a total renewal of the Mi Pueblito complex, located at the foot of Ancon  Hill. The initial phase of improvements includes demolition and reconstruction of Mi Pueblito Afroantillano.

Subsequently, the remodeling of Mi Pueblito Interiorano and Mi Pueblito Indígena will be tendered.

The Metropolitan Tourism Society is a corporation owned by the Municipality of Panama, but its structure allows the participation of the private sector.

Within the plan is the creation of tourist routes and circuits to historical points of the capital city such as Santa Ana, Central Avenue and reverted areas. It also contemplates the creation of shows that recreate past events in the city of Panama.

One of the objectives is to capture the thousands of tourists who are passing through Tocumen airport to take advantage of the waiting time and visit the city.

In 2016, there were 10 million people in transit through the air terminal, but only 2.4 million became tourists the lowest figure in recent years.

http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/panama-city-revitalize-tourist-attractions

In light of the tourism numbers being down, it was probably really bad timing for Panama to toss out the perpetual tourists and snowbirds.

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Business is slow in Panama in a number of sectors, not just tourism. A local told me this morning that it's because "Varela is slow".

New car sales are generally a good economic indicator in Panama, and they're down, according to stats published by the Controller General's office. http://www.contraloria.gob.pa/INEC/archivos/A3612017venta_auto.pdf

I've met the Tourism Minister, Gustavo Him, a few times, and he's a dedicated, energetic individual with fresh ideas. His efforts to drive up visitor numbers with heavier promotion in Europe, and the exploitation of niche activities are examples.

Ministro Him is a Chiricano and has a home here in Boquete.

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Billboards to promote tourist sites

The Panama Tourism Authority (ATP) administrator, Gustavo Him, officially launched a new project to install billboards on the Interamerican Highway to promote tourist attractions in the area.

One of those billboards was installed right on the pedestrian bridge that crosses the Interamerican Highway and connects with “Escuela San Antonio”, in Santiago, Veraguas, with pictures of Santa Catalina beach one of the best surfing beaches in Panama. This is one of the busiest tourist attractions of Veraguas province, located at 111 kilometers from Santiago de Veraguas.

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One of the billboards at the Interamerican highway exit to El Valle de Anton.

Him pointed out that this new tourist promotion project is part of a national advertising campaign that was launched on November 2016, which has two phases: “Your Panama, do you know it? (“Tu Panamá, ¿ya la conoces?), which invites Panamanians and residents to visit the beautiful places in the country; while the second part “Tourism begins with you” (“Turismo empieza contigo”), which appeals to the Panamanian people’s contribution to tourism.

He indicated that some 40 billboards will be installed and so far 18 are in place, specifically in locations where there are important tourist products and services to show. “At the moment we are strongly promoting the interior of the country,” he said.

“Veraguas has many natural beauties like the Coiba National Park, but it needs that push that the ATP is bringing to the province. In this way, it benefits the entrepreneur, users of tourism services and the community that lives where the industry is being developed,” said Olga Pereira de González, Governor of the province of Veraguas.

 

https://www.thevisitorpanama.com/2017/05/billboards-promote-tourist-sites/

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International promotions seen to be working for the ATP as there has been a 25% increase in the number of tourists from Europe as of late.

 

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Incentives for Local Tourism in Panama

Almost five years after the Tourism Benefits Act was approved outside of the District of Panama, it has been announced that the regulation will be ready in the coming weeks.

Monday, August 21, 2017

The regulation of Law 80 of 2012 was prepared by the Tourism Authority of Panama (ATP) and has been sent to the Ministry of Commerce and Industries for approval. The document establishes the requirements that investment projects and tourist activities outside of the district of Panama must meet, in order to be eligible for tax exemptions.

Prensa.com reports that, for example, "...Companies that reward their workers with pleasure tourism within the national territory may deduct this expense from the payment of income tax (ISR). Likewise, tax exemptions are established for subsidiaries of multinational companies that run conferences in the country."

Gina Valderrama, Director of Investment and Tourism Culture at the ATP, said that "... the aim is to encourage the building up of a tourist trail, which has all the facilities for using it, including the construction of convention centers and ports for cruise ships."

 

http://www.centralamericadata.com/en/article/main/Incentives_for_Domestic_Tourism_in_Panama

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The ATP Tourist Authority of Panama has entered an international competition with their promotional video about Embera Face Paint.

It is part of the "Panama is for Travelers, Not for Tourists" campaign.

Panama's entry is here.   http://creativity-online.com/work/panama-tourism-authority-not-for-tourists--face-paint/51747

You can see other entries from all over the world here.    http://lmd.unwto.org/unwto-tourism-video-competition-2017

You can vote for your favorite here.   http://lmd.unwto.org/webform/vote-now-your-favorite-video

Edited by Keith Woolford

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An international campaign stating that Panama is NOT for tourists, is shockingly stupid. 

Apparently you can get a grade of F in your Marketing class and still get a government job.

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4 hours ago, Uncle Doug said:

An international campaign stating that Panama is NOT for tourists, is shockingly stupid. 

Apparently you can get a grade of F in your Marketing class and still get a government job.

The international agency VML in Chicago was no doubt paid big bucks to produce this negative advertising.

I get the concept of adventure travel but there are other ways to state it.

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Have to wonder if this international agency VML in Chicago visited Panama and how many locals were given a chance to input for this program.

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Here's another promotional video produced by this agency for the Tourism Authority. This one is about coffee and the highlands.

Extremely unimpressive.

 

 

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Panama Sets Sights on Adventure Tourism

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ADVENTURE is the current buzzword in Panama tourism circles with ambitious plans underway to create and develop an adventure tourism program that will be highlighted in an “Adventure  Week” for invited travel specialists in late May.

The event, is the result of an alliance between the  Tourism Authority (ATP), the Panama Chamber of Tourism and the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA).

It will allow 23 international guests to experience for 7 days and 8 nights, selected adventure opportunities to generate visits in the medium and long-term.

Tour operators and travel agents, media and international bloggers, will be invited to experience the trip and promote the destinations.

According to the ATTA, a trip can be qualified as adventure tourism if it involves two of three key elements: “nature, culture and physical activity, such as hiking, biking, rock climbing, rafting and other activities that require technical knowledge or specialized equipment”.

Rafting
The rafting takes place by descending a river with rapids, in a pneumatic boat using an oar as a rudder during the trip.

Panama, due to its geographical situation and tropical climate, has a diversity of rivers ideal for the activity. According to information from the ATP, in the province of Chiriqui, the Chiriquí Viejo, Chagres, Grande, Mamoní, Pacora, Dolega, Esti, Boquerón and Majagua rivers are ideal for the activity because they present different degrees of difficulty.

Trekking
Adventure trekking consists of an outdoor walk, along paths whose level of difficulty can vary depending on the place and conditions.

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Rock climbing in Boquete

Rock climbing required ascending or passing through rock walls and gullies,, steep slopes or other natural reliefs, using securing equipment. The Boquete, district  of Chiriqui, is  one of the most visited places for this type of activity

For adventure cycling, special bicycles are used in natural circuits, usually through wooded paths with different ascents and descents. Cerro Azul, the Metropolitan Park, Campana, Chame and San Carlos, are some of the places used by adventure cyclists.

Contest
The ATP  has opened a  contest to select the company that will be responsible for developing and operating the Panama Adventure Week itinerary. It must combine adventure activities, nature and culture for 15 buyers, 5 journalists, ATTA staff and 2 narrators), who will be expected to document and develop video material and photos.

Companies interested in applying will have until Friday, January 5 and the selected company will be announced on Wednesday, January 10.

 

 http://www.newsroompanama.com/travel/panama-2/panama-sets-sights-adventure-tourism

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Panama: Tourist Spending Continues to Slow Down

From January to October 2017, tourist spending grew by only 1.6% compared to the same period in 2016, significantly lower than the 13% recorded between 2015 and 2016.

Friday, December 22, 2017

According to figures from the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic, during the first ten months of the year tourists who arrived in the country spent $3.798 billion, an amount that exceeds by $60 million the $3.738 billion registered in the same period in 2016.

See: "Will Chinese tourists come?"

For the periods in question the number of tourists increased from 6.3 million in 2016 to 6.7 million in 2017, however, this line also recorded a slowdown, since the growth of 2017 versus 2016 was 5.7 %, very far from the 11% increase between 2015 and 2016.

See statistics by the Contraloria. (In Spanish)

 

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

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Panama attracting more European visitors

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The flow of European visitors to Panama in 2017 increased 8.1 percent to 227,963, (17,070 more than the previous year)

European airlines that increased passenger revenue in 2017 were: Iberia, with a total of 69,381 passengers, some 9,501 more than in 2016, a growth of 15.9%;   and KLM, with a total of 55,519 passengers, about 2,044 more than in 2016, increasing by 3.8%.

Air France follows with a total of 51,326 passengers, some 7,940 more than in 2016, with an increase of 18.3%.

The visitors come mainly in search of experiences with nature and culture, and go to destinations such as Bocas del Toro, Boquete, Tierras Altas, Boca Chica, Pedasi, the Azuero region, the Pacific beaches and the Antón Valley in Coclé.

The connectivity of the country, through direct flights to key destinations in Europe such as Spain, Germany, France, the Netherlands and charter flights from Poland continues to strengthen Panama as the Hub of the Americas.

It is anticipated that the start of direct flights to Panama by  Air China starting in March 2018, from the city of Beijing, will attract a flood of Chinese tourists.

In the target markets, according to recent Google measurements, during the launching period in 2017, Panama took the YouTube network as one of the countries with the most views and significantly increased searches related to trips to Panama.

The mentions of Panama increased by more than 66% in cities of the United States, Canada and Spain, between January and November of 2017. While the traffic on the page visitpanama.com was up more than 500% and the campaign achieved 36 million views.

 

http://www.newsroompanama.com/travel/panama-2/panama-attracting-european-visitors

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Panama adopts new immigration measures to enhance tourism and trade with Europe and other emerging countries

New measures continue commitment by President Varela's Administration to positioning the country as a hemispheric center of travel, trade and investment

Apr 06, 2018, 20:33 ET

PANAMA CITY, April 6, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The Government of the Republic of Panama adopted new immigration measures to continue boosting tourism, trade and investment with the economies of Europe and emerging countries.

By Executive Decree, Panama lifted immigration restrictions for citizens who hold a Schengen visa or current residence in the European Union; and approved the flexibilization of visas for the citizens of India.

The first decree, signed by President Juan Carlos Varela Rodríguez and Minister of Public Security Alexis Bethancourt establishes that visas issued by countries that make up the Schengen Area (covering 26 countries in Europe) must be multiple entry, must have been previously used in the granting country, and its validity must be no less than one year at the time of entry into Panamanian territory.

The second decree, also signed by the president and the Minister of Security, establishes that the stamped visas for Indian citizens may be issued by the Consulates of the Republic of Panama in the Republic of India, and their cost will be US$50.00, as established in the standardization of consular fees. The migratory category of stamped visa is the same as that currently applied to citizens of countries such as the People's Republic of China, the Republic of Cuba, and the Dominican Republic, whose stamped visas are issued by the National Immigration Service after carrying out the migratory checks and corresponding security from diplomatic offices.

With the entry into force of both Decrees, the Government of President Varela reaffirms its commitment to a migration policy that guarantees more orderly and secure flows, while seeking to attract more visitors from the largest markets at the international level and the main emerging economies of the world, which represents new perspectives and growth opportunities for the country in terms of investment and trade.

The decision is part of a diplomatic effort to strengthen ties with world powers and make rapprochements with regions with which Panama historically has not had close relations: Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa, India and Australia.

This foreign policy of diversification, led by President Juan Carlos Varela and coordinated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has been called the "Falcon Policy." It is based on five strategic axes of work, which include: the promotion of political dialogue, commercial exchange, the strengthening of the country's connectivity, as well as the positioning of Panama as the preferred destination for tourists and the exchange of good practices through of cooperation.

SOURCE Government of Panama

 

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/panama-adopts-new-immigration-measures-to-enhance-tourism-and-trade-with-europe-and-other-emerging-countries-300625868.html

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Panama targeting tourists further afield

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Gustavo Him
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Economic and political factors have impacted the flow of tourists to Panama from traditional supply centers in Latin America and the country is looking to China, Canada, the United States and Europe to plug the gap.

In January and February  Panama , a destination for shopping, beaches, and congresses, received some 484,006 people, while in 2017 they were 492,096, a fall of 1.6 percent, according to preliminary figures.

The decline has been blamed on lower arrivals from Colombia and Venezuela.

Gustavo Him administrator of the Panama Tourism Authority (ATP), told Acan-Efe news agency that the decrease in travelers from Colombia and Venezuela is due in largely to the depreciation of the Colombian peso against the dollar -which makes Panama more expensive- and political issues in the case of Venezuela.

He reasoned that one of the reasons for the loss of travelers could be that last October the  Panamanian Government included Venezuela in the list of countries whose citizens require a  stamped visa stamped to enter.

In 2017  some 218,920 Colombians and 213,062 Venezuelans entered Panama through  Tocumen International Airport.

“Venezuela was the second most important country for visitors (…) we are not receiving around 60,000 people in these three months, “said  Him.

[Panama’s recent diplomatic spat with Venezuela, leading to the shutting down of Copa Airlines flights, will not have improved the flow].

Given this situation, Panama has chosen to target other visitors with greater purchasing power.

He commented that there are great expectations with the new diplomatic relationship with China and that the goal this year is to attract some 50,000 nationals of the Asian country and 150,000 in 2019.

It is a great challenge for Panama taking into account that in 2017 22,000 Chinese people arrived in the country, a tiny number compared to the more than 100 million who travel abroad every year in search of culture, shopping, and gastronomic experiences.

Him said that one of the ATP strategies is the construction of a cruise port at the entrance in  Amador, on the banks of the Panama Canal. whose

The $165 million development is in the hands of a Chinese-Belgian consortium and is expected to be ready by the end of 2019.

“We want to sell the route” Ocean to Ocean “to the cruise ships he said.

Tourism represents around 10 percent of Panama’s gross domestic product (GDP). In 2017, some 2.5 million visitors entered, generating income of  $4.45.billion, 5.5% more than the previous year

 

http://www.newsroompanama.com/news/panama/panama-targeting-tourists-further-afield

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Panama Wants more Canadian Tourists

In order to compensate for some of the decrease in the arrival of visitors from Colombia and Venezuela, Panamanian authorities have increased promotion in markets such as China, Canada and the USA.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The aim is to attract tourists with greater purchasing power, and to compensate for the reduction that for various reasons has been recorded in the entry of Colombian and Venezuelan tourists. According to the tourism authorities, in the case of Colombia, depreciation of the Colombian peso has had an affect, making Panama more expensive, and in the case of Venezuela, it is the political and economic crisis in the country.

Gustavo Him, head of the Tourism Authority of Panama, said that "... Colombia and Venezuela occupy the second and third place of the main issuing countries of travelers: in 2017 some 218,920 Colombians and 213,062 Venezuelans came in through the international airport of Tocumen, Panama's main airport. 'Venezuela was the second most important country in terms of visitor numbers (...) we have stopped receiving around 60,000 people in these three months'."

You may be interested: "Requirements for Hosting Chinese Tourists"

"... Given this situation, Panama has chosen to attract other markets such as the United States, Canada, China, Europe, and certain Central and South American nations that have greater purchasing power and a tendency to stay.  To this end, the ATP has launched the first phase of its tourist communication campaign led by the US firm VML, INC. which is responsible for promoting, through digital media, attractions such as the country's tropical forests, beaches, nightlife and colonial sites."

 

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

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Panamanian Tourism Fair exceeded organizers’ expectations

Sun, 05/27/2018 - 17:57

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The ninth International Tourism Expo 2018 "exceeded organizers’ expectations”, because 1,992 business contacts were achieved including more than 8,000 visitors "interested in tourism in Panama and the region," reported  the Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama (CCIAP).

The source said in a statement that at first it was expected "1,000 business appointments", but the result was almost double, while the more than 8,000 visitors were achieved in the two days of the meeting, closed today at the center of Atlapa conventions of the Panamanian capital.

The event brought together 250 wholesale buyers from 9 countries, surpassing the previous eight editions, which came from Africa, Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

The International Tourism Expo 2018 "featured 143 exhibition modules, arranged in more than 3,200 square meters in the ATLAPA Convention Center, which housed different companies, most of which are engaged in the MICE segment, incentives, congresses, conventions and corporate and group events".

These modules came from Bolivia, Colombia, China, Cuba, Indonesia, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Turkey.

The wholesale buyers who participated in the fair came from Germany, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador and the United Arab Emirates ( Dubai).

In addition to, Spain, United States, Finland, France, Greece, Holland, India, England, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Lithuania, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, United Kingdom, Romania, Russia, Switzerland, South Africa, Turkey, Ukraine and Uruguay.

"It has been a historic and satisfactory year for the Organizing Committee; we were able to present Panama to more than 250 buyers who now return to their countries to sell the destination as an option for their events, meetings or vacations," said the president of Expo 2018 , José Rodolfo de la Guardia.

He announced that the 2019 fair will be held from May 24 to 25 next year at the ATLAPA Convention Center.

Since 2010, the CCIAP "in strategic alliance with the National Chamber of Tourism (CAMTUR) and the Tourism Authority of Panama (ATP) organized Expo Internacional Tourism, which this year was sponsored by Copa Airlines, Albrook Mall and Westland Mall.

The person in charge of the ATP, Gustavo Him, emphasized the support of that institution to the Fair, because it exposes the Central American country "before many buyers from all over the world, opening a range of opportunities for Panamanian companies engaged in tourism to have the possibility of offering their products and services to companies from different countries".

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.

 

http://www.panamatoday.com/economy/panamanian-tourism-fair-exceeded-organizers-expectations-6936

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Panama: Fewer Tourists Spend More Money

Between the first quarter of 2017 and the same period in 2018, the number of visitors that arrived in the country registered a slight decrease of 1.4%, but the overall expenditure made by them increased by 2.7%.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

According to sector's figures, between the first quarter of 2017 and the same period of this year the number of tourists fell from 734,000 to 723,000, and the currencies received registered a slight increase, going from $302 million to $310 million.

The president of the Panamanian Hotels Association, Armando Rodríguez, explained to Prensa.com that " ... the high season of 2018 was slightly better than last year, but he indicated that they are far from the numbers that the sector saw seven years ago, when they had 70% occupancy rates in the months of greatest activity. 'The results of these first months indicate that the rest of the year will not be positive'." 

"For his part, Gustavo Him, administrator of the Tourism Authority, said that important markets for Panama such as Argentina and Brazil are recovering and hope that the situation improves in the coming months. He added that they are preparing a specific campaign to increase the entry of South American passengers, a region that showed a negative trend in the first quarter of the year."

 

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

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Business leaders seek government  link and tourism strategy

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Panama’s Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture (Cciap) continues to  push  the government  to  establish  a public-private partnership to accelerate the multimodal area project of the Tocumen International Airpor and to develop  a tourism strategy

The chamber said on Sunday, June 3 that the multimodal area will attract direct investors and will advance the interoceanic zone of the Panama Canal, which would attract investors in pilot projects in other sectors.

In addition,  says the Chamber the activation of groups of industrial entrepreneurs, logistics and free zones, will increase the benefits of the Tocumen air terminal.

“The creation of a public-private entity that promotes exports of our goods and services, will in this framework, achieve the implementation of the Field Acceleration Program “, said the Chamber of Commerce in a statement released on  Sunday.

The Chamber also said that “a strategic tourism plan is needed, which would produce a multiplier effect in the Panamanian economy, transcending administrations to be established as a State policy and takes advantage of the already established “Hub of the Americas. ” For this reason, the Cciap “summons the entrepreneurial will of company managers to make the current situation an opportunity to affirm or refocus,  productive efforts with the purpose of strengthening the private sector as a generator of work and prosperity “.

 

http://www.newsroompanama.com/business/panama-4/business-leaders-seek-government-link-and-tourism-strategy

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