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Tuesday, November 13 2018 @ 12:46 AM UTC

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650,000 Tourists Visited Panama Jan - Apr 2010, Spent $582 Million Dollars

Travel & Tourism Although the number of tourists entering Panama during the month of April declined when compared to April 2009, on whole there was an increase of 4.5% during the first four months of the year compared to the same time period in 2009. Between January and April 2009 a total of 649,257 tourists entered the country, or 26,588 more than during the first four months of 2009. As usual, the Tocumen International Airport was the main point of entry, seeing 398,503 tourists, an increase of 6% or 22,494 more people. In Paso Canoa, on the border with Costa Rica, 49,873 tourists entered the country while through other points of entry such as Guabito in Bocas del Toro and Puerto Obaldia on the border with Colombia 28,266 tourists entered. According to the Comptroller General, tourists spent $582 million dollars in Panama from January to April 2010, or 12% more than in 2009.

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.

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RFI: Is November A Good Time To Visit Panama?

Travel & TourismBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Received this morning as a Request for Information (RFI): "We are anticipating a trip to the Panama Canal. When is the best time to visit. Is the middle of November a good time? Would this be the rainy season? Thanks for your help. If there is a site we can go to for this information, please email it to me. Thanks again. Sandra"

It Rains A Lot in November: Historically speaking, November is the rainiest month of the year in Panama. The rainy season runs from about April through December so if that's a concern then you might want to plan your visit during the dry season (the local Panamanians call it the "summer") from mid-December to mid-April. However, even during the months with the most rain you can still see and do almost anything in Panama. If you've never seen a full blown Panamanian downpour then you've never seen Mother Nature at her finest in this category. It's rare to have days on end when it rains constantly, and for the most part the rains come in blocks, like a couple of hours in the afternoon or what have you. Since I've been living here for so long - now going on 24 years - it's gotten to the point where I practically don't even notice the rain anymore, unless we're really getting hammered with something truly spectacular and noteworthy. For example, most things have some kind of an awning or covering so you can duck into transportation without getting wet. The Visitor's Center at the Miraflores Locks of the Panama Canal is a good example. You can visit in the midst of the heaviest downpour and still see the ships going through the canal, tour the museum, see the film, visit the gift shop, etc. Of course Panama is "prettier" in the dry season with white fluffy clouds, blue skies, hot sun, clear air, great views, etc. However the "real" Panama, for about eight months out of the year, is wetter, cloudier, and cooler. So, take your pick. The weather in Panama is pretty simple - either it's raining or it's not. Good luck in whatever you decide to do. Oh, and by the way, this video was taken on 15 July 2007. Probably ten minutes after it passed, the water drained away and everyone went on about their lives like nothing had happened.

Copyright 2010 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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50% Drop in Crimes Against Tourists in Panama

Travel & TourismThefts and robberies targeting tourists have dropped by 50% during the first months of this year, according to the Deputy Commissioner of the Tourism Police, Elsa Garzón. Security in tourist areas such as the ruins of Old Panama, Casco Viejo, and other areas has been reinforced by units of the Institutional Protection Service (SPI) and the National Police, she said. Garzon said the formation of a committee comprised of security managers from the city's hotels is showing good results, because it allows for a greater flow and exchange of intelligence information as well as the monitoring of irregular situations and crimes against tourists. She said they have also tightened security at the Tocumen International Airport. "We maintain two checkpoints in different parts of the Southern Corridor to provide security when tourists leave the airport of Tocumen," she explained. (Panama America)
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New Cruise Ship Departures from Panama in Oct 2010

Travel & Tourism Tourism in Panama has increased by 6% and generated revenues of $60 million, reported the Minister of Tourism, Solomon Shamah. Minister Shamah announced as good news that on 15 October the company Pullmantur will begin cruise ship departures from Panama generating even more revenue for the country. The Minister of Tourism confirmed today that as part of efforts to increase this activity, the government will be building a new international airport within the country, although there are differing opinions as to the location. While President Ricardo Martinelli is inclined to build the new international airport in Divisa, Shamah suggests Penonomé. In any case, said Shamah, this issue should be technically evaluated. (TVN Noticias)

Editor's Comment: The Spanish company Pullmantur will be offering 8 day/7 night all included cruses aboard the Ocean Dream cruise ship starting in October 2010 through June 2011.

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Panama Tourism Grew by 2% in 2009 - $1.5 Billion in Revenues

Travel & Tourism In spite of the ongoing global economic crisis, tourism in Panama grew by 2% in 2009. Tourists spent an estimated $1.5 billion dollars in the country. The results in Panama last year were very different from the global trend, which saw an overall 4% decline in tourism. (La Estrella)

Editor's Comment: Tourism remains strong in Panama, however Panama counts many visitors as tourists who are really businessmen or investors. For example, thousands of people come to Panama every year to take advantage of the Colon Free Trade Zone. They fly in, make their purchases in cash, arrange to have the goods shipped tax-free to their business in their home country, and then leave. While here they stay at a hotel for a day or two, spend their money on transportation and the purchases they make, but their activities are really much more related to business than traditional tourism. There are many members of the English speaking expatriate community who are "on the books" as tourists but in fact they live in Panama part time, have purchased property which they either use as a vacation home or investment rental property. These people are sort of like half-investors and half-retirees but as far as the bean counters are concerned they are "tourists." It doesn't really matter all that much, just recognize that the real activity on the ground varies from what's generally reported in statistics. And, "tourists" are injecting more than $1.5 billion dollars into Panama's small economy every year, which is excellent in strategic terms. Growing crime rates and violence could threaten those results, especially if more foreigners are targeted by the bad guys.

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Panama invites you to hike the rainforest and lounge on the beach

Travel & TourismBY SUSAN CARPENTER - LOS ANGELES TIMES - When deciding where I wanted to spend this past Christmas, I looked at my short list, and there was Panama, billed as an up-and-coming Costa Rica, thanks to its abundance of animals, the eco emphasis and its dollar-stretching economics. It appealed to my contrarian nature. Tourists have been gawking at the Panama Canal for nearly a century, watching ships wend their way through the series of locks that connect the Atlantic and Pacific. But the country is increasingly popular for areas that are less engineered and more untouched by humans, especially its islands (more than 1,600), its coasts and its wildlife, attractions that have given rise to eco-tourism and the medical tourism with which it is often paired. U.S. institutions such as Johns Hopkins University have partner facilities in Panama that offer procedures for almost half of what they would cost in the United States, and the beach resorts are used for recovery. I wasn't in the market for a triple bypass or boob job -- yet -- just the flora and fauna I knew I could find in the western part of the country. So I planned my six days to take in a cloud forest first and then a beach resort. I flew in to the capital on a Monday night and flew back out the following morning, arriving in the western city David, Panama's second-most populated city, and traveling by car to the more remote Chiriqui Highlands for the first part of my trip. (more)
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Tourism Plan Would Recreate 15th Century Spanish Culture in Panama

Travel & Tourism A descendant of discoverer Christopher Columbus presented a proposal for a tourism project on Friday, to recreate Spanish colonial cultural and religious traditions in Panamanian towns. Spaniard Cristóbal Colón, Duke of Veraguas and descendant of the discoverer of America, chairs the Foundation Castilla de Oro, which presented a preview of what visitors could see when touring the villages where European settlers and adventurers lived during the sixteenth century. This project intends to make the "Castilla del Oro" (Castle of Gold) as that time in Panama was known, "a tourism development that will create a new momentum," said Colon. The Castilla de Oro Foundation says residents can convert their homes into tourist accommodations, shops, or undertake activities related to tourism, which would help them increase their income. "We are offering residents the opportunity to become agents of their own destiny," said Pascual Montañés, a partner in the Castillo de Oro Foundation, who said that about a thousand residents have expressed and interest in participating in this initiative.

The target area includes towns in the Panamanian provinces of Los Santos, Herrera, Cocle and Veraguas. The latter founded the first Catholic church in America, Natá de los Caballeros. "The first time there was gold in the Castilla de Oro, this gold was taken by the Spanish. Spain took 21 tons of gold from the Castillo de Oro and used it to finance the greatest empire the world has ever known," said Montañés. Now "it is guaranteed the Spanish are not going to take the gold, and what there is in this project itself is an invitation for the Spanish to come and spend their money," he said. "Columbus sought the friendly approach to the inhabitants of those lands and the chronicles tell us about hawks of gold and other ornaments they exchanged for Castilian goods," said the descendant of the navigator on the activities of his ancestor along the Panamanian coast.

He said at the mouth of the Belén river, on the Panamanian coast, the navigator learned of the existence of gold mines, which is why he had the "intent of founding the first Spanish population of the Americas," but "the hostile position of chief Quibian" stopped him. Legend has it that the Spanish traded glass beads for gold with the natives, but Colon rejected on Friday that it was "only gold that motivated" the Admiral. Christopher Columbus arrived in Panama on his fourth voyage (1502-1504) sailing from the coast of Honduras in search of a strait that would allow him to reach the Spice Islands, of which Marco Polo spoke in his description of Asia. (Source - Telemetro)

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The Panama Canal: history gets a makeover

Travel & TourismBy SHANNON MELNYK / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News PANAMA CITY, Panama – It's a new day in Central America. The $5.5 billion expansion of the hydraulic eighth wonder of the world, the Panama Canal, is expected to have a major impact on global trade in what has steadily become a bustling business hub of the Americas. Widening and deepening the passage will make room for a new generation of monster ships carrying anything from humans to a million barrels of oil, shaving weeks off of current transport times and reshaping trade patterns throughout the world. It also is expected to offer travelers new horizons to explore. Fittingly, "Panama" – loosely translated from an indigenous dialect – means abundance. With the entrepreneurial enthusiasm of the former Walmart employee and new Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli, the new government plans to live up to the nation's name by profiting from world business with the birth of the bigger, better canal. In what may be a metaphorical baby shower, it's also injecting undisclosed millions into welcoming the world. With sights set on giving neighboring Costa Rica a run for its tourism dollars, Panama is gearing up to becoming both a cosmopolitan and resort destination, luring tourists with its spectacular Old World history, hurricane-free tropical beaches, luxury shopping and jungle adventures. (more)
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Please Take This Survey on Tourism in Panama

Travel & Tourism By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - A Panamanian graduate student is working on her Master's Degree in Switzerland and she's collecting data for her thesis. I received the following this morning via email from Don Ray Williams in Chiriqui: "A Panamanian student is taking a short anonymous survey to gather data for her Master's Degree in Tourism. Participants should be non-Panamanian and 50 years old or older. The time frame for gathering information is short, so time is of the essence. The URL to participate the survey is chiriquichatter.net/survey/index.php. This is being done for a course in Le Roche, Switzerland." He's trying to help a Panamanian friend of his named Natalie who is working on a Master's Degree. Normally I tend to shy away from these kinds of survey requests because they are often phishing attempts, unless I can independently verify the validity of the request through the student's mentor or professor via direct contact through the university's switchboard. In this case Don Ray's word is good enough for me, especially considering that he knows the student personally, and the survey is anonymous with no request for any kind of personal identifying information. Natalie is the girl on the left, with this snapshot taken as she was about to depart for her studies in Switzerland. In any case, please take the time to take this survey and help this student out. This one is for real. Thanks.

Copyright 2009 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Canoe man case offers unlikely boosts to tourism in ‘hideaway’ Panama

Travel & Tourism By John Bingham for the Telegraph - A so-called “Darwin effect” has sparked increased interest in the Central American country as a “hideaway” destination, according to industry experts. Revelations about how John Darwin, of Seaton Carew, Teesside, faked his own death in a canoe accident to start a new life in Panama, aided and abetted by his wife Anne, is helping fuel new fascination with the country, it is claimed. Pictures of the couple enjoying the sunshine in Panama City or exploring the lush seafront plot they hoped to turn into an ecotourism resort inadvertently helped promote the country’s attractions to a new audience, it is thought. The scam fell apart two years ago when John Darwin walked into a police station in London claiming to have lost his memory. The couple were jailed for more than six years for a £250,000 pensions and insurance fraud last year. Such has been the interest in Panama generated by the case that the publishers of one of the main English language guides to the country ordered a second edition to be printed this year, following a spike in sales. One holiday company, Journey Latin America, even offered a tailored “Darwin” tour recently, taking in some of the attractions highlighted by the case. Despite the global economic downturn, Panama’s tourism sector appears to have defied with a steady rise in visitor numbers this year. While other destinations have suffered, visitor numbers were up just over three per cent in the first quarter of this year. (more)
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