Tourist arrivals increased in the first seven months of the year, although at a slower pace when compared with the increase reported during the same period last year.
In total, between January and July 1,236,000 visitors entered the country, 63,842 more tourists than in the same period in 2011.
This represents a 5.4% increase.
Although Panama continues to bring in more tourists, the volume has not been high enough to fill the 4,000 hotel rooms that have been established in the capital city over the past couple years.
This difference has caused a 7% drop in hotel occupancy in the capital city in the first semester of the year.
Hoteliers indicate that, in order to maintain occupancy levels above 60%, visitor entry should register a 15% monthly growth. For this year, it is estimated that the occupation levels will fall by over 50%, particularly in hotels with under 100 rooms.
As for tourist spending, visitors in July on average left the country currency worth 315,001,000 dollars.
Compared to numbers from 2011, an increase of 221.6 million dollars is seen.
This assessment, made by the Comptroller General, is excluding the purchase of plane tickets.
Per country, the United States continues at the top of the table as the nation that brings the most visitors into Panama, followed by Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina and Spain.
Whereas by geographical area, South America is the region that contributes the most tourists to the Panamanian market.
Tocumen remains the main port of entry for tourists, although movement through Paso Canoa, on the border with Costa Rica, has been on the upswing this year.
While 70% of the visitors to the country enter at the Tocumen International Airport, the border had an increase of 1.3%, after the negative results recorded last year.
Authorities hope that Panama will have received 2.2 million visitors by the end of 2012, surpassing the 2 million reported last year.
To increase the flow of visitors to the country, direct flights from Colombia, Ecuador and Brazil are currently under negotiation.
The government is acting as a mediator between the South American tour operators and the low cost airlines to seal the deal, which could begin this October.
Negotiations were also established with the Spanish airline Iberia to intensify flight frequencies from that country. Iberia currently has five weekly flights to Panama.