Thursday, July 01 2010 @ 11:04 AM EDT
Contributed by: Don Winner
According to the Administrator of the Tourism Authority of Panama, Solomon Shamah, the institution is participating in major international fairs to reach agreements with tour operators to include the country in its itineraries and thus attract more tourists. He also said they reached an agreement with the Spanish airline Iberia to conduct direct flights to Panama, which will increase tourist arrivals from Europe. According to the international body, the recovery of capital markets like the U.S. is driving the movement of tourists worldwide. Angelo Paredes, the President of the Panamanian Association of Tourism Developers (APOTUR) said they have seen an increased volume of tourists, especially during the cruise ship season which ended last month. A high percentage of cruise ship passengers take local tours in Panama after returning from their tour of the Caribbean, especially to the beach and mountain areas such as Boquete, said Paredes. According to the Comptroller, in the first quarter more than 173,000 tourists entered Panama through the Tocumen International Airport to board cruise ships departing from Panamanian ports.
Editor's Comment: 650,000 people in four months, spending $582 million dollars - it's all good. This morning during a television interview the Director of the Tourism Authority of Panama, Solomon Shamah, said "the Panama Canal is our Eiffel Tower - but many people don't think they can visit the Panama Canal because they think of it as an industrial entity. As part of the expansion of the Panama Canal the Panama Canal Authority has programmed the construction of several new observation points which will further boost tourism to Panama and increase interest." Here's a selling point for Panama - "You can swim in the ocean and not get covered in oil..." It's good to see the numbers of tourists (and the money they spend here) increasing. Finally, "hey look, you can see the Bridge of the Americas from here..." Like, we don't know why the tourists are coming to Panama.