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Tuesday, November 13 2018 @ 01:08 AM UTC

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Panama Reaches 2 Million Tourists in 2011 (First Time, Ever)

Travel & Tourism At least 2 million tourists visited Panama in 2011, generating estimated revenues of more than $2.5 billion dollars, said Panama's Tourism Minister Solomon Shamah. In 2011 "we have reached 2 million visitors," and we could reach 2.1 million by year's end, Shamah told reporters. The income of $2.5 billion dollars places tourism as one of the most important sources of income for Panama, together with the Panama Canal, the Colon Free Trade Zone, and the banking center. "We are 3.3 million people and we seen our two millionth visitor. When did we Panamanians ever think we were going to see that?" said the official. Shamah said the figure of 2 million visitors per year was a goal established by the government of Ricardo Martinelli which they had hoped to achieve by 2014, his last year in office. (Telemetro)

Editor's Comment: Yup, tourists are great. They come here, look around, spend money, buy some stuff, eat at the restaurants, and leave. We love tourists. Now, if only the government of Panama would WTFU and start doing some things to help tourism. Like - putting a stop to the corrupt cops who continue to suck bribes out of tourists on the Inter American Highway with a radar gun and a threat of a huge fine. I received another email about that same thing just today. Whatever. Maybe getting pulled over by a corrupt cop in a third world country is part of the "charm." Honestly, it's hard for me to see some of the stuff that needs to be fixed (from a tourist point of view) because I've been here for so long. OK you sun baked partially dehydrated rental car warriors from Oshkosh ... what should Panama do to make the country more tourist friendly, to attract even more billions of dollars to the local economy? Comments down below, pur flavor...

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NBC Today Show With Matt Lauer - Panama Featured By Travel and Leisure Magazine As Top Destination For 2012

Travel & TourismBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - More than 2 million people visited Panama as tourists during 2011. This was the first time the "2 million" barrier was broken - up from 1.4 million tourists in 2008. Panama has been enjoying an uninterrupted economic boom with steady and significant growth in the nation's Gross Domestic Product since 2003. More and more foreigners are "discovering" Panama as a destination for both travel as tourists and to live full time as expatriates. There are now an estimated 40,000 Americans living in Panama full time, for example, and many more who visit regularly or who spend part of the year here as "snowbirds." And just as winter is starting to kick in up North, down here the dry season - known locally as "verano" (summer) is starting to make its presence known. If you're just starting to investigate Panama, the best time of the year weather wise are the months of January, February and March, with less rain, blue skies with white puffy clouds, lower humidity, and gentle breezes. Generally speaking the worse the weather is up North, the better it is down here, and it lasts until Spring.

Panama Featured On NBC Today Show This Morning: I got a tip this morning (thanks, Joe) that Panama was being featured on the NBC Today Show with Matt Lauer in a piece entitled "12 Must See Travel Destinations For 2012" (click the link to see the video). There were several destinations highlighted in the piece and the part about Panama was very well done, at least the video part of the segment. Of course for all of you who follow this website regularly Panama isn't a hidden secret or a surprise destination, and you've already discovered Panama's charms. In the piece they sort of say "get down to Panama before everyone else finds out about it, before it's too late." Of course I love this kind of publicity and exposure for Panama as a travel destination, because all of that turns into traffic to this website. Even if they did focus on a museum that's not open yet and the expansion of the Panama Canal that tourists can't really see. Whatever. Buzz is buzz. Here's the text of the interview:

  • "Matt: Few locations make the list down south, st. vin gent acent and the gr grenadines, but your pick is panama.

  • Nilou: If you've been to Belize and craving the Central American excitement this is the place to go. Frank Gehry is building a "bio museo", a museum devoted to biodiversity. The panama canal is having a $5.6 billion expansion happening in a couple of years.

  • Matt: ...to accommodate the super ships...

  • Nilou: ...and great hotels, Manray, a great hotel.

  • Matt: We were there for "where in the world" and we saw a lot of americans and all said they loved it.

  • Nilou: Go before it changes. This is the moment to go."

Copyright 2011 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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Copa Now Has Direct Daily Nonstop Service to O'Hare in Chicago

Travel & TourismThe Panamanian airline Copa opened direct flights between Chicago and Panama City, said Pedro Heilbron, CEO of Copa Airlines, in a ceremony that included music and typical Panamanian dances. The first flight departed this morning from Terminal 5 at the Chicago O'Hare International Airport bound for Panama's Tocumen international airport, where Copa has its center for the Americas. The return flight to Chicago is scheduled for late afternoon, a Boeing-700 with capacity for 124 passengers. "We are connecting two tourist and business destinations, while enabling a portal to more than 50 Latin American cities," said Heilbron. Welcoming the Panamanian airline to O'Hare was the responsibility of the Aviation Director of the Municipality, Rosemarie S. Andolino. "These daily flights will help increase tourism, business and economic opportunities between the cities of Chicago and Panama, as well as connectivity to destinations throughout Latin America," she said. In addition to the flight to Chicago, the airline operates flights nonstop Cup between Panama and the U.S. cities of Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Washington and Orlando. (Telemetro)

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Panama Gets A New Tourist Attraction - Manuel Antonio Noriega

Travel & TourismBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - I can hear it now. Dozens of cruise ships carrying hundreds of thousands of passengers make their way through the Panama Canal every year. Aboard those vessels are local area experts who - aided by microphones - explain to the passengers what they are seeing as the ships slowly make their way through the canal from the Atlantic to the Pacific or vice versa. And now with the incarceration of the former military dictator Manuel Antonio Noriega in the El Renacer prison, located literally on the "banks of the Panama Canal", you can be sure he will become a new attraction mentioned during every passage. You can also get a close up view of the El Renacer prison if you hop on the train from Panama City to Colon - the train tracks run right behind the prison, spitting distance away from Noriega. Former military dictator, drug trafficker, money launderer, murderer, and now tourist attraction. Hey, at least he's giving something back, right? Peanuts, get ch'ur peanuts...



Copyright 2011 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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More Than 1 Million Tourists Spent More Than $1 Billion Dollars - Jan to July 2011

Travel & TourismTourists and passengers in transit in the country spent $1.087 billion dollars in Panama during the months of January to July 2011, reflecting an increase of 12.4% more than last year, according to a report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis of the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF). The report is based on figures provided by the Tourism Authority of Panama (ATP) - responsible for the sector - indicating there were 1.5 million passengers in direct transit, a 17% increase over last year. The report also indicates the arrivals of tourists kept hotel occupancy rates at 67.5% in the period, up 1.1% from 2010, the highest rate in the last four years. Meanwhile, 1.9 million people moved through the country via air travel, 7% more than last year. This figure refers to the movements through the Tocumen International Airport. The report from the Economic Analysis Division said international cargo increased by 2%.

On the other hand, in regard with the domestic market, passenger traffic increased 6%. There were 30% more flights to and from Bocas del Toro, 44% increase to Chiriqui, 20 to the Kuna Yala, and 7% increase to Contadora, each with important domestic tourist areas. Domestic cargo also increased by 10%.

The country had 1,113,162 visitors, 12.3% more than in 2010. Of that total, 77.1% were tourists, cruise passengers 18.5% and 4.4% hikers. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: The numbers make sense. If there were more than 1 million tourists and each spent an average of just $1,000 dollars, then there's your billion dollars. Tourism is a very important aspect of the Panamanian economy. Just this morning I was down in Casco Viejo near INAC and the French Embassy, and there were three different groups of tourists being lead by a guide, about 20 people in each group. The ATP set 2 million tourists as their goal for 2011, let's see if we hit it. Tourists are "perfect" from an economic point of view because they come here, spend money, and leave - it's almost all positive for the host nation. Up in Costa Rica they are starting to feel the pinch as more people choose Panama instead. Costa Rica's annual take from tourism is only about $2.2 billion dollars so Panama isn't that far behind. Costa Rica's tourism industry is relatively new. They didn't see their first year with a million visitors until 1999, and in 2008 they had their first year with more than 2 million visitors. By comparison last year in 2010 Panama had 1.3 million visitors generating $1.6 billion dollars in revenue. As more and more people discover Panama as a tourist destination, then the sector will take on an ever increasing level of importance for the national economy. One indication: there's a whole Wikipedia page dedicated to tourism in Costa Rica, but there isn't a similar article for Panama. When I first got here in 1987 there were practically no tourists (Noriega, war, etc.). Anyway - what you already knew - tourism is growing in Panama and it will continue to grow.

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Tourism Authority Launches New Chiriqui Promotion Packages

Travel & TourismAs part of the "Discover The Interior" campaign of the Panama Tourism Authority, they recently launched the "Chiriqui is the most" promotion, with which you can visit the province of Chiriqui and stay for three days and two nights at the hotel of your choice from $233.50 per person. The package includes airfare, breakfast, taxes and up to 50% discount on activities and services. Activities include tours of the province of Chiriqui, rock climbing, climbing the Baru Volcano, among others. The promotion is valid until December 12, 2011 and is subject to the availability of each participating hotel. (Panamagazine)

Editor's Comment: They were doing this with Bocas for awhile, don't know if it's still valid. Basically the government sponsors or subsidizes these packages as part of an effort to get Panamanians to travel to see other parts of Panama.

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Spent The Day On A Boat Yesterday, Back in the Saddle today...

Travel & TourismBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - I spent the day cruising around the Bay of Panama yesterday in a yacht, fishing, whale watching, and generally goofing off. I shot a lot of video and later today or tomorrow when I get the time to edit the raw and render the final cut, I'll put it out. And for this morning I've got some appointments that are going to pull me out of the office again. Anyway, just wanted to let you know why the regular news feed was interrupted yesterday, and that I'm back in the saddle today ... (crank it up)

Copyright 2011 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 Saw 710,000 Visitors In First Four Months of 2011

Travel & TourismA total of 710,403 visitors came to Panama in the first four months of 2011, 9.4% more than the same period last year, representing an income of foreign currencies of $645 million dollars. The Department of Social and Economic Analysis of the Panamanian Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) said in a statement that 70.5 per cent of people admitted into Panamanian territory were tourists (at least one night sleeping in the country). He also indicated that the other 25.9% were cruise ship passengers (those who do not sleep in a hotel) and 3.6% hikers (those who slept only one single night in the country), said MEF. According to the source, most visitors came from South America (37.2%) and North America (36.4%) and the rest (26.4%) came from Central America, West Indies and Europe. They also reported that from January to April 2011, hotel occupancy in Panama City was 68.6%. (Telemetro)
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A Sunday Afternoon With Two Supermodels, Kona The Wonder Dog, And the Cleanup of the Bay of Panama (Video)

Travel & Tourism By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Last Sunday afternoon we went out again as usual to spend some family time together. My wife and I took our daughter Sarah to the Albrook Mall, where she rode on some of the rides that are there. When you've got a four year old, you have to know about these things. Then I took my two "Super Models" to a park in Paitilla. We went out on an old pier behind the Union Club that sticks out into the Bay of Panama. There we met "Kona the Wonder Dog" - this great Golden Retriever and his owners - near the park. Once Sarah burned up her youthful energy in the park we went for ice cream. I'm still playing with my new video camera and learning what works and what doesn't, as well as the editing and processing capabilities of the software I'm using to produce the videos, so my education in that respect continues. This week I uploaded a High Definition (HD) version of the video if you're interested in seeing the difference. You can watch the video in the player below on this website, or you can surf to the YouTube page and watch it in HD there at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPmmlON1Ci8. When you start the video in the lower right hand corner select a "Quality" of 1080p - that will play the video with 1,080 lines of vertical resolution (1,080 horizontal scan lines) and progressive scan or HD.

Or, you can just watch it here... I'm still playing with the differences and looking to fine tune some stuff, so this is all experimental for me. Anyway, it's all fun and games. I hope you enjoy this slightly different look at the Panama City skyline with my two "supermodels."

Copyright 2011 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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Quick San Blas Trip (Video)

Travel & TourismBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - I had to make a quick trip to El Porvenir and Chichime island in the San Blas on Friday and Saturday. We drove over the mountains from Chepo and El Llano to Carti, and then caught the SANAFRONT panga to El Porvenir. To make a long story short, here's the video of the trip...

Copyright 2011 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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