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Saturday, April 19 2014 @ 11:22 PM EDT

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Where We Want To Go In 2007

Travel & Tourism By Sophia Banay for Forbes - Here's a resolution you won't mind making: Travel better this year. And we don't just mean buy trip insurance and pack your toothbrush. Instead of resorting to the same, time-worn vacation spots, resolve to make 2007 a year you'll remember because you visited a tropical butterfly park in Honduras, went hot air ballooning over Namibian sand dunes or got a two-hour marine mud massage at North Island resort in the Seychelles--not because you stayed with Gramps in Palm Beach again. According to the Washington-based Travel Industry Association of America, the international travel and tourism industry experienced strong growth in 2006, and additional expansion of 4.6% per year is expected over the next 10 years. Thanks to a stable economy, steady wage increases and the lack of any major recent terrorist attacks in popular vacation spots, Americans in particular have indulged their wanderlust. And in 2007, industry experts say the most popular trips will have one thing in common. "The emphasis really is on experiential travel," says Misty Ewing, the director of public relations at Texas-based Virtuoso, a luxury travel network. "People are looking for more authentic experiences and ways to immerse themselves in local cultures. Now, I think that when people go on vacation, they really want to learn and know the destinations they're visiting. They want to experience it to its fullest extent."
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35th Annual Boquete Flower and Coffee Fair Opens Today

Travel & Tourism By Sandra Alicia Rivera for La Prensa - The 2007 Panamanian National Fair Season starts today with the inauguration of one of most colorful and aromatic, the 35th Annual Boquete Flower and Coffee Fair. Organizers of this event say that the wonderful flowers and smells make this event different than any of the other 21 fairs that are held in the different provinces throughout the country. Edilberto Beitía, president of organization, said that this year the gardeners will not dissapoint the visitors who will be attending the fair between 11 - 21 January, and at least 35,000 flowers will be exhibited, featuring orquids frm Australia, Japan, the United States, Costa Rica and, of course those native to Panama. Putting this fair together takes the entire year. As soon as the 2006 fair finished gardeners began to prepare the ground for seeds and transplants for this year's fair. This early preparation ensures that all of the plants will be in full bloom for the festival. During the year the also take inventory of their stock and contact foreign companies that distribute the plants to them to place new seed orders. Each year they spend more than $90,000 on seeds and plants. The fair features 47 gardens - among them two specializing in orchquids, that occupy a total of three hectares and that under the constant care of ten people. (more)
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Although overlooked, music and culture run deep in Panama

Travel & Tourism By Agustin Gurza for the Los Angeles Times - PANAMA CITY, Panama: Panama has always been a convenient shortcut for travelers on their way somewhere else. The Spaniards used it to haul treasures from Peru. Prospectors used it to race by rail to California for the Gold Rush. And the whole world still uses its canal, the fastest way to move cargo and cruise ships between oceans. Poor Panama. Always a detour, never a destination. But I didn't come here earlier this year to cross the canal or even to look at its locks. I came to explore something that has been as overlooked as the country itself: its music and culture. My guide to this largely undiscovered world was Ruben Blades, Panama's most celebrated pop-culture figure. The acclaimed salsa singer and songwriter, who ran unsuccessfully for president here in 1994, now serves as minister of tourism, a job that, like his songs, he has undertaken with creative spirit and a sense of social purpose. Today, he may be the country's second-most recognizable name — after Gen. Manuel Noriega. But Blades bristles when reporters ask him about the dictator whom U.S. forces ousted during a military invasion almost 17 years ago. Time to look at Panama in a different light, Blades says.
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The Start of Holiday Season in Panama

Travel & Tourism Tomorrow, the 3rd of November, Panama starts a celebration that keeps going for about three full months. Between now and March sometimes it seems like there are more holidays than work days. The party starts with the "Day of the Child" on 1 November, the "Day of the Deceased" on 2 November, Independence Day (from Colombia) on 3 November, the "Anniversary of the First Call for Independence" on 10 November, Independence Day (from Spain) on 28 November, Mother's Day on 8 December, Christmas, New Years, Three King's Day on 6 January, Martyr's Day on 9 January, and Carnival. The "party season" ends on Ash Wednesday which happens to fall on February 21, 2007 this time around. That means that carnival will be from Friday 16 February through Tuesday, the 20th of February. And then the following month there's Holy week. In any case, that's the schedule and if you need to get anything done you should consider the holiday season in your plans. For example right now you won't be able to get anything done until at least Tuesday of next week. And, the city is getting more and more empty with every passing minute as people grab their boogie boards and head for the beach. Be careful out there because there are always a spike in traffic accidents due to the migration to and from. Have a happy Independence Day.
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Window On Panama

Travel & Tourism (Source) Agustin Gurza for the Los Angeles Times: PANAMA CITY, PANAMA In contrast to the city's old quarter, modern Panama City emerges from the tranquil bay, seen through one of the arches of the Church of Saint Francis of Assisi, located in Casco Antiguo. Panama has always been a convenient shortcut for travellers on their way somewhere else. The Spaniards used it to haul treasures from Peru. Prospectors used it to race by rail to California for the Gold Rush. And the whole world still uses its canal, the fastest way to move cargo and cruise ships between oceans. Poor Panama. Always a detour, never a destination. But I didn't come here earlier this year to cross the canal or even to look at its locks. I came to explore something that has been as overlooked as the country itself: its music and culture. My guide to this largely undiscovered world was Ruben Blades, Panama's most celebrated pop-culture figure. The acclaimed salsa singer and songwriter, who ran unsuccessfully for president here in 1994, now serves as minister of tourism, a job that, like his songs, he has undertaken with creative spirit and a sense of social purpose. (more)
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Panama - The Path Less Traveled

Travel & TourismPanama's Tourism Institute (IPAT) produced this video promoting Panama as the Path Less Traveled. Nice...

Rosetta Stone Language Software

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Ocean Embassy Panama Will Build Marine Park at Playa Corona

Travel & Tourism (Source: La prensa) The company Ocean Embassy Panama (OEP) announced the purchase of 299 hectares in Playa Corona in the district of San Carlos which will be used to build one of the best aquariums in the world and where it will be possible to swim with dolphins. The resort and park with marine animals means an investment of more than $300 million dollars for Panama over a period of seven to ten years, according to a press release from the company. According to the company's projections more than 400 Panamanians will work at the facility which will offer guests the opportunity to interact directly with marine animals. A resort that will serve as a hotel for tourists will also be built on the site.
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Easy Travel Panama - Personalized Ground Transportation and Sightseeing

Travel & Tourism Easy Travel Panama has developed a specialized "niche" in personalized tour and travel guide services. We offer packages that are specifically designed and tuned to your individual desires and requirements. Our drivers and tour guides are highly trained to provide first class service. We provide personalized ground transportation and sight-seeing service by private taxi. From the minute you touch Panamanian soil our knowledgeable drivers and guides will receive and assist you in flawless English. We offer transportation and tours throughout Panama City and other nearby popular destinations. Our drivers/guides are knowledgeable about all aspects of Panama and its diverse cultures. We can customize sight-seeing, cultural, or shopping excursions based on your individual needs and particular interests. Our drivers/guides, although very professional, are a lot of fun and very experienced working with international guests. Our prices are competitive and comparable to standard Panamanian taxi fares. We have hundreds of totally satisfied clients and we are confident you will feel the same.
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Coclé Tourism Cluster Working to Improve Services

Travel & Tourism (Source: Raúl A. Bernal for Prensa) To hit different beaches, to take advantage of an ample range of cultural attractions, to explore the natural treasures of the second province of the country or experience life aboard a shrimp fishing boat are just a few of the experiences the tourism sector is offering to visitors in Coclé. To maximize their competitiveness and to increase the flow of visitors to the region tour operators in Cocle have joined forces to create an economic conglomerate (cluster) called "Coclé, your best Destiny," a project financed through the Inter-American Development Bank (I.A.D.B.), through the program Panama Competes. These projects are focusing in the development of the cultural, residential, ecological tourism and beach sectors, according to Jessica Lau, the leader of this cluster. In addition, they have proposed to expand hotel and restaurant facilities.
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Commercial Flight Traffic to Tocumen Up 16.2%

Travel & Tourism (Source: Prensa) Commercial flight traffic to the Tocumen International Airport increased 16.2% to 20,075 flights, moving 1,534,922 people in the first six months of 2006, 14.9% more than the same period last year. March was the month of greater growth. The statistics were presented/displayed yesterday in the forum "Panama... Aerial Hub of the Américas", organized by the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture of Panama. According to passenger data 521,310 people passed through Panama in transit to their final destination, 507,262 people arrived in Panama, and 506,350 departed. Most of the passengers come from the North and South America, a total of 937,039 people. But arriving passengers from Europe grew 33%. The increase in European traffic is a result of increased flight traffic from Air Madrid and Iberia that operate routes with stops in Panama. The other region of growth is the Caribbean, 143,895 passengers in the last six months, up 23% from last year. Copa's Hub of the Americas has generated a 21.1% growth in traffic from South America. Cargo and air freight traffic through the airport reached 39,054 metric tons in 4,044 flights, a drop of 17.5% which was mostly due to a change in accounting practices. Starting this year cargo in transit being transported by Copa Airlines was dropped from the report.
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