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Monday, September 24 2018 @ 01:58 AM UTC

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Regional cruise lines set their eyes on Bocas del Toro

Travel & Tourism"There are regional cruise companies contemplating the possibility of including Bocas del Toro in their destinations," revealed Ernesto Orillac, Deputy Administrator of the Panama Tourism Authority (ATP).

Orillac did not mention the names of the cruise lines as he is abiding by the confidentiality clauses of negotiations.

The ATP ordered bathymetry studies (deep sea) to see what would be the best location for a cruise port in Isla Colon, Bocas del Toro, informed Orillac.

"The construction of the port will depend largely on the potential of companies that would enter, the draft and the structures of their cruise," Orillac stated.

The official also revealed that the ATP Counsel is preparing the public event for the bidding process of a road on the upper coast of Colon, where a hotel chain will build a 5 star hotel.(Critica)

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Peru Will Consider Eliminating Business Visa For Panamanians

Travel & TourismPresident Ricardo Martinelli spoke with the president of Peru, Ollanta Humala, on the possibility of eliminating the visa for Panamanian traveling to Peru to do business transactions.

"Peruvians tourists or businessmen are not required to have a visa to enter Panama, we spoke with president Humala in order to have this same benefit," said Martinelli.

Currently, Panamanians traveling to Peru as tourists do not need visa, but in order to conduct business transactions they require a business visa in order to do so.

The interview with President Martinelli and the President of Peru took place at the World Economic Forum in Lima.

Panama and Peru signed a Free Trade Agreement in 2011, the first treaty signed between Peru and a Central American country.

He also invited the participants to the World Economic Forum for Latin America that will take place in Panama in 2014.(TVN)

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Vacation Rental For Free Advertising? (Services Swap Offer)

Travel & Tourism By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - I did this same thing during Carnival weekend, and it worked out great. This time I'm looking for something to do with my family for this coming Holy Week weekend in Panama. Once again, we thought we had some plans but they fell through at the last minute, so now I’m exploring other options, but time is relatively short.

Here’s my proposal: If you have a vacation rental, hotel, house, apartment, or some other property somewhere by the beach, I will give you four months of advertising on the www.panama-guide.com website in exchange for three nights stay over this coming Carnival weekend.

Your property could be located practically anywhere in Panama. We will consider anything near the Pacific beaches close to Panama City (Coronado, Chame, Gorgona, Playa Blanca, Decameron Villa, San Carlos, etc.), Isla Grande or elsewhere on the “upper coast” of the province of Colon, on the water in Chiriqui, Bocas del Toro, etc. My daughter is a “water bug” so anything with a pool, or other swimming opportunities is a big plus.

We would like to leave Panama City on Thursday, 28 March 2013 and stay until Sunday afternoon (Easter) 31 March 2013.

In exchange, I will run a 468 x 60 rotating banner on the website for four (4) full months ($800 value). Clicks on the banner can go either to your website, or (if you prefer) an article on www.panama-guide.com that I will write with photos and a description of your rental property or hotel.

If you’re interested in this offer please write me directly at don@panama-guide.com or call my cell phone at 6614-0451. Please send a description of the property, photos, location, etc. Thank you very much.

Copyright 2013 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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Panama Leaps Ahead In WEF Tourism Competitiveness Report

Travel & TourismPanama jumped 19 positions in the tourism competitiveness report prepared by the World Economic Forum, improving from 56th in 2011 to 37 achieved in 2013.

With this jump Panama was described as a "rising star" in international tourism by the WEF. The country improved more than any other country in the global ranking which is published every two years.

The study analyzed the factors that make countries attractive as a destination for investment or business development in the travel and tourism sector.

At the regional level in Panama was ranked fourth behind the United States, Canada and Barbados, but beating the most experienced tourist nations like Mexico, Costa Rica, and Brazil.

The report is based on data from various public sources, international institutions working in the travel and tourism industry, and experts, as well as the results of the Executive Opinion Survey, conducted by the WEF.

The increase in the number of hotel rooms with the installation of chains with international prestige was one of the factors that drove the country, in the report which was published this year under the theme "Reducing barriers to economic growth and job creation."

Between 2010 and 2012 more than 30 new hotels were built in Panama, bringing 6,200 new hotel rooms on line throughout the country, of those 72% or 4,500 are in the capital city.

To this number another 27 hotels must be added that are being built in other parts of the province of Panama.

Among the international chains operating in the country include Hilton, Wyndham, Hard Rock and RIU, among others.

In the line of tourism infrastructure, Panama peaked at position 42 of a total of 140 countries surveyed, while in airport infrastructure the country was ranked number 16.

Other topics considered in the report to analyze the tourism competitiveness of countries are the regulatory framework for doing business and living costs. In these lines Panama was located at positions 18 and 26, respectively.

Despite achieving the most improvement in the competitiveness ranking, fate has not overcome obstacles related to the preparation of human resources, limited access to health services, and the expense to be incurred by companies because of security and violence.

The lack of experienced staff was evident with the construction of new hotels. It is estimated that there is an unfilled demand for eight thousand skilled workers, especially in operational areas such as waitresses, waiters and technicians.

Besides not having experienced staff, the tourism industry is lacking workers who speak other languages ​​like English, German and Portuguese.

A study by the British human resources firm People 1st found that Panama needs to improve the quality of service to establish itself as a premier tourist destination.

Jesus Sierra, president of the Panamanian Association of Hotels, says the WEF report reflects the reality of the country, but adds they are working to reduce the deficit of skilled labor.

With regards to levels of security, he points out that Panama is a safe destination for tourists, and announced that this year will be held in the country the first hemispheric conference on hotel security. "Panama is a safe destination, and we seek to improve the visitor experience," he added.

European countries dominate Economic Forum report

Switzerland again took first place in the study of tourism competitiveness of the World Economic Forum (WEF). Switzerland is notable for its efficient transport system and excellent customer service. According to the WEF Switzerland has the best hotel schools in the world and much of its territory is protected, becoming an attraction for tourists.

European countries dominate the top 10 ranking, except the United States, Canada and Singapore. According to the report, the tourism sector has been strengthened by the growth of the middle class in emerging countries. (Prensa)

Editor's Comment: Panama is doing everything they can, as hard and as fast as they can, to grow and improve the tourism sector in the country. One of the easiest things to find in Panama is an example of poor customer service provided to an international visitor by someone who is working in the tourism industry. These examples are so frequent and common - they have become almost cliche. Literally everyone knows that "customer service sucks" in Panama and the companies involved in the tourism industry are holding classes and seminars to improve these deficiencies, which at times seem to be held at the core or cultural level. These kinds of habits are the hardest to change. Another problem is that in an industry which is growing at the rate seen in Panama, anyone with experience and skills can almost name their price. The hotels are stealing the best employees from one another, enticing them to jump ship with better pay, benefits, and working conditions. I see these things as growing pains, and overall there are more and more people in Panama making their daily wage thanks to a growing tourism industry, and that's a very good thing. All of the other stuff will come with time.

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Tourists Entering Panama Through Tocumen Airport Up By 13%

Travel & TourismThe number of visitors who entered Panama through the Tocumen International Airport rose more than 13 percent during the month of November 2012 compared to the same time period in 2011, according to a report by the Tourism Authority of Panama (ATP).

The figures indicate more than 1.1 million people entered Panama through the airport between January through November 2011, and this year that number increased to more than 1.3 million.

According to figures provided by the ATP, of this total number of visitors who entered the country through the Tocumen International Airport, 47.6% are from South America, followed by 28.3% from North America, and 9.8% from Europe.

Meanwhile, Central America represents 8.5%, Asia 2.5%, and the Caribbean 2.5%.

According to the ATP, the results of this period show that international tourist arrivals to the country continue to increase, even from distant regions like Oceania and Asia. From Europe there is an increase in arrivals from the Spanish, Swiss, French and Germans.

The ATP Administrator Solomon Shamah said the growth trend of visitors through the Tocumen International Airport remains at 15 percent, and those numbers will grow as the project to expand the airport is finished.

Currently there is a master plan for the expansion of the airport terminal, and the construction of the new South Concourse has already been completed, said the information provided by the ATP. (Estrella)

Editor's Comment: The tourism industry in Panama continues to grow steadily, and everyone involved in this sector is doing well. The one area that's been hurt somewhat is hotels, because of the number of new hotel rooms that have been built and delivered in recent years. In the short term occupancy rates are dropping, but this also means competition is rising between hotels so rates will come down for some.

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Places to Go in Panama: Red Frog Beach Rainforest Resort

Travel & TourismA 15 minute boat ride from Bocas town brings you to Red Frog Beach where the staff has been preparing for the busy tourist season in Bocas del Toro. Guests to this island location stay in luxury villas with private pools or rustic Balinese-style jungle lodges that overlook the Caribbean ocean. The two restaurants have new enhanced menus and visitors can enjoy an authentic dinner on Panama’s most beautiful beach. The Zipline Canopy Tour (located at the very top of the island) offers an experience of a lifetime! With 13 platforms, 7 ziplines – the adventure is both thrilling and beautiful as you view ocean vistas, exotic birds and curious monkeys.

The resort also caters parties, weddings, special events, karaoke nights and also offers an array of island activities that include an underground cave tour and numerous tours. Check out our Facebook Page and receive a 10% discount by mentioning you saw this on Panama Guide. (Sorry, sold out for the holidays but day visitors welcome to a number of beaches, restaurants and zipline).

For those interested in buying or investing in finished Villas, titled lots, marina slips or the new Jungle Lodges – property site tours are available.

The Villas at Red Frog Beach. 507-836-5501 / U.S. 970-367-4811. info@redfrogbeach.com

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The Tourism Authority Cancelled The Registration of 107 Other Companies

Travel & TourismOne among many. The company Desarrollo Golf Coronado, S.A. is not the only one which has been removed form the National Tourism Registry by the National Tourism Authority, for breach of Article 30 of Law 8 of 1994, according to the General Manager of the Tourism Authority Solomon Shamah. From 2009 to date the ATP has removed 107 companies from the registry. Among the most common reasons companies were removed from the registry were;

1. A company starts the construction, remodeling, or restoration of buildings for tourism activities proposed within a period not exceeding six months from the date of registration in the registry, however because of the nature of the work being done more time is required.

2. The company starts to provide tourist services within a period not exceeding three years, counted from the date of registration in the National Registry of Tourism.

3. Failure to obtain the required performance bond.

Of the 107 companies, three were denied, there were two withdrawals and one rejection. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: Yesterday the National Tourism Authority removed the company Desarrollo Golf Coronado, S.A. from the National Tourism Registry - meaning they are no longer authorized to operate as a tourism business under Law 8 of 1994. This means they lose tax breaks and will have to pay even more money to the government, on all of their activities. In today's installment of this drama, the National Tourism Authority is explaining that they have removed another 107 companies from this same list for other reasons, so they are not just picking on Desarrollo Golf Coronado, S.A. and Roberto Eisenmann. Yeah, right. Business as usual. Gotcha.

In reality there's little doubt. This is a politically motivated vendetta, an extension of the war between the Panameñistas and the Cambio Democratico, which has spilled over on to the front covers of the La Prensa and Panama America newspapers, respectively. Business mixed with politics mixed with government mixed with news.

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EMILIO REGUEIRA, SINGER OF LOS RABANES ROCK BAND “PADRINO” OF FIESTA DEL MAR, ISLA TABOGA 2013

Travel & TourismEmilio Regueira, famed singer of Los Rabanes and Latin Grammy Award winner, is the Padrino of the second edition of the Fiesta del Mar, Taboga to be held on 26 and 27 of January, 2013 on the Island of Taboga.

"I live in love with our Panama, a country of great people with beautiful, unique and picturesque landscapes - such as Taboga Island, which is a Pacific treasure, through its history, nature, and tradition of their community. I am honored to have been invited to be the Padrino of the Fiesta del Mar, Isla Taboga," said Emilio Regueira. “With great enthusiasm and joy I became part of the event, and invite everyone to join and participate in the Fiesta Del Mar to be held on Taboga Island on the 26 and 27th of January 2013, "Regueira added.

About The Initiative: The main goal of the Fiesta del Mar Taboga event is to actively promote programs and events on the island aimed at assisting to develop Sustainable Tourism of Taboga. Highlighting the island as a treasure to discover on the tourism map for regional and international visitors as well as valuing cultural and culinary traditions of the island.

www.fiestadelmarpanama.com

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Chaos At Immigration in Bocas del Toro

Travel & TourismDozens of tourists lined up in the rain to get the immigration authorities of Panama in Bocas del Toro to stamp their passports.

The foreigners complained about the long wait in the open under a torrential downpour, because they had to wait in line for more than an hour to be served.

One woman complained that all of her relatives, among them one who is an epileptic, had spent more than an hour and a half in the rain.

Several complained to TVN television cameras that some foreigners had given money (bribes) to the immigration officials so the would expedite their procedures.

Leonardo Machuca, TVN correspondent in Bocas del Toro, said in the midst of this discomfort, the immigration authorities reported that their electronic system had gone off line, so the foreigners would have to wait even longer to be served. (TVN)

Editor's Comment: Why? Because taking care of tourists is "job one." I have no idea why the government of Panama doesn't spend more assets to improve facilities to assist tourists and tourism in Bocas del Toro. Since Aero Perlas has gone out of business, Air Panama simply can't move bodies up there fast enough to keep all of the businesses afloat. Even though there are people who want to go there - the planes are full and there are no seats available. Maybe there should be less lip service for tourism, and more actual action. Or, we can just let them stand in the rain, waiting for a computer system to come back on line...

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Panama Passes New Law Creating Incentives For Tourism Development

Travel & TourismBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - The National Assembly of Panama has passed Bill 481 - Incentives for Tourism - in the third and final debate. The law will now go to president Ricardo Martinelli for his signature.

Bill 481 as approved can be seen in Spanish via this link.

The administrator of the Tourism Authority of Panama, Solomon Shamah, said they listened to the suggestions made by the members of the opposition political parties, and they incorporated many of those suggestions into the final draft version of the Bill, which helped it to be approved in a speedy manner and without any serious opposition. Shamah said the goal of the new law is to "ensure the future of tourism in the country."

The law establishes the rules and mechanisms for incentives to promote the development of tourism in the country. The law creates tax breaks and other incentives for foreign investors who come to Panama to build hotels or resorts. There are also provisions for smaller businesses related to eco-tourism for example, and things such as concert promoters, trade shows, and seminars.

Copyright 2012 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Don't forget to follow Panama Guide on Twitter. Salud.

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