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Friday, April 19 2019 @ 02:20 PM UTC

More Than 1 Million Tourists Spent More Than $1 Billion Dollars - Jan to July 2011

Travel & TourismTourists and passengers in transit in the country spent $1.087 billion dollars in Panama during the months of January to July 2011, reflecting an increase of 12.4% more than last year, according to a report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis of the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF). The report is based on figures provided by the Tourism Authority of Panama (ATP) - responsible for the sector - indicating there were 1.5 million passengers in direct transit, a 17% increase over last year. The report also indicates the arrivals of tourists kept hotel occupancy rates at 67.5% in the period, up 1.1% from 2010, the highest rate in the last four years. Meanwhile, 1.9 million people moved through the country via air travel, 7% more than last year. This figure refers to the movements through the Tocumen International Airport. The report from the Economic Analysis Division said international cargo increased by 2%.

On the other hand, in regard with the domestic market, passenger traffic increased 6%. There were 30% more flights to and from Bocas del Toro, 44% increase to Chiriqui, 20 to the Kuna Yala, and 7% increase to Contadora, each with important domestic tourist areas. Domestic cargo also increased by 10%.

The country had 1,113,162 visitors, 12.3% more than in 2010. Of that total, 77.1% were tourists, cruise passengers 18.5% and 4.4% hikers. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: The numbers make sense. If there were more than 1 million tourists and each spent an average of just $1,000 dollars, then there's your billion dollars. Tourism is a very important aspect of the Panamanian economy. Just this morning I was down in Casco Viejo near INAC and the French Embassy, and there were three different groups of tourists being lead by a guide, about 20 people in each group. The ATP set 2 million tourists as their goal for 2011, let's see if we hit it. Tourists are "perfect" from an economic point of view because they come here, spend money, and leave - it's almost all positive for the host nation. Up in Costa Rica they are starting to feel the pinch as more people choose Panama instead. Costa Rica's annual take from tourism is only about $2.2 billion dollars so Panama isn't that far behind. Costa Rica's tourism industry is relatively new. They didn't see their first year with a million visitors until 1999, and in 2008 they had their first year with more than 2 million visitors. By comparison last year in 2010 Panama had 1.3 million visitors generating $1.6 billion dollars in revenue. As more and more people discover Panama as a tourist destination, then the sector will take on an ever increasing level of importance for the national economy. One indication: there's a whole Wikipedia page dedicated to tourism in Costa Rica, but there isn't a similar article for Panama. When I first got here in 1987 there were practically no tourists (Noriega, war, etc.). Anyway - what you already knew - tourism is growing in Panama and it will continue to grow.

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