Friday, September 28 2012 @ 04:39 PM EDT
Contributed by: Don Winner
"The International Tourism Expo drives growth of the tourism industry in the country, allowing exhibitors and international wholesale buyers to establish important business contacts," said the president of the CCIAP, Irving Halman.
In 2011 Panama received two million tourists for the first time, who left behind more than $2 billion in foreign exchange to the country, making this activity one of the pillars of the national economy, according to official figures.
The president of the Chamber of Tourism of Panama (CAMTUR), Annette Cardenas, said this year "we have focused on promoting domestic tourism in Panama, offering spaces, landscapes and world class activities, such as beaches, mountains, ecological tourism, sports (...) and the best fishing sites recognized by professionals."
Expoturismo is organized by the CAMTUR and the CCIAP, is supported by the Tourism Authority of Panama (ATP), and is held in the ATLAPA Convention Center in Panama City. During the second version of the specialized exhibition, held in 2011, there were 1800 business contacts, of which 800 were previously coordinated electronically, with a participation of 113 exhibitors and 120 buyers from 34 countries as wholesalers.
The exhibitors come from: Argentina, Bahamas, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curacao, United States, India, Indonesia, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico and St. Martin. While wholesalers are from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, El Salvador, Spain, United States, Finland, Guatemala, Holland, Honduras, England, Mexico, Nicaragua, Norway, Paraguay , Peru, Puerto Rico, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Russia, Sweden, Uruguay and Venezuela. (Panama America)
Editor's Comment: Tourism continues to grow and this activity is more and more important to the national Panamanian economy with each passing year. Panama got a late start in the field of tourism in the 70's and 80's compared to Costa Rica, for example, due to the years of the military dictatorship. No one wants to visit a country where you stand a chance of getting tossed out of a helicopter - it's generally a negative vibe. But since the US invasion of Panama in December 1989 and the overthrow of Manual Antonio Noriega to reestablish democracy in the country, and the departure of the US military and the full implementation of the Torrijos - Carter treaty at 12:00 noon on 31 December 1999, tourism has been growing steadily. Infrastructure is improving to meet the demand as tourism dollars pour in and companies learn, grow, and strengthen. But there's still a shortage of trained English or multilingual tour guides. Since Aeroperlas went out of business, there are more tourists who want to visit Bocas del Toro for example, than there are airplane seats to get them there. There are lots of little speed bumps that have to be addressed as tourism in Panama continues to grow and prosper.