Developing the Country Through Tourism – Tourism in Panama
Tourism in Panama
FOCUS Publishing group
Developing the Country Through Tourism – Panama
Tourism is a growing industry in Panama. Europeans, Canadians, U.S. citizens and South Americans are choosing Panama as a holiday destination that offers great shopping, food, sun, sea, adventure and ecotourism. Another plus for Panama is that nationals from 119 countries do not need visas to visit.
This industry generates nearly 135,000 direct and indirect jobs and represents 11.9% of Panama’s GDP. It is expected that by 2020, 4.2 million visitors will come annually and by 2030 this number will have more dobled.
According to the ranking of tourism competitiveness compiled by the World Economic Forum (WEF), Panama ranks fourth in the region of the Americas and holds position 37 worldwide.
From January to April 2015, tourists spent $630 million, an increase of 14.7% compared to the same period of 2014. This sector generated $3,476 million in total last year.
Law 80, Incentive Legislation
The panamenian Goverment, through the Panama Tourism Authority (Autoridad de Turismo de Panamá, ATP) passed Law 80 in 2012 defining all the incentives for foreign investment in the sector.
This legislation attracted foreign investors who proceed to build hotels., resorts and residential complexes all over the country, especially in the Pacific beach areas, Panama City and the highlands of the Chiriqui province in western Panama.
Currently the ATP is promoting hotel construction in different parts of the interior to supply the demand of rooms in those areas.
The Master Plan
The Goverment created a Master Plan for thr development of Sustainable Tourism 2007-2020.
The main objective of this master plan was to lay down the long-term strategy, policy and regulatory framework for tourism development to contribute to the generation of jobs and to the increase in income levels. The total project amounts to $575,270.
Air and Maritime Connections
Panama has highly developed air connectivity with five international airports and more than 24 airlines operating in the country. The main terminal is Tocumen International Airport, home of Copa Airlines “Hub of the Americas” with connecting flights to 70 destinations in Europe and the Americas.
Other smaller airports such Enrique Malek, in Chiriqui; Scarlett Martinez, in Cocle; Panama-Pacifico close to Panama City and Marcos Gelabert in Panama City are receiving international commercial and charter flights from Colombia, Costa Rica and Canada.
The Panama Canal attracts cruise ships that put into ports on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts during the cruise season from early October to late May. The Pacific port receives cruise ships coming from South America and those heading to Alaska at the start of their season or returning to the Caribbean at the season’s end. Many ships make stops at Colon 2000 Port on their cruise around the Caribbean Sea.