During a decade Panama has managed to position tourism above world powerful countries, like Costa Rica, United States, Brazil and Peru, many travellers come to the country, they are lured by the great diversity of tourist segments, that the industry called smokeless offers.
This influence of travelers has converted Panama into a touristic brand, internationally reference, proof of this is that the arrival of travellers increased 150% in the last decade, from 800mil, 161 tourists in 2002, to more than 2 million 4000 15 trippers in 2011, totalizing 13 million 282 thousand 946 travellers in a period of 10 years.
According to the Tourism Authority of Panama (ATP), during that period of time, tourists have left a total of 16 thousand 712 million and 200 thousand dollars in tourist spending.
Ports of income.
Tocumen International Airport remains being the main entry of travellers in Panama for ten years, this airport which today seeks to expand its infrastructure by building the South Pier that is stil on bidding, welcomed the arrival of a total of 8 285 000 513 million travellers.
The cruise ports, registered a total of 3 million 272 thousand 193 hikers in the same period of time, this segment experienced a meaningful decline last year when it suspended operations of two cruise ships in Colón’s port 2000 and the cancellation of arrivals of several cruises to the country.
The input through Paso Canoas reflected the arrival of 1 million 75 thousand 513 tourists, similarly, the border with Costa Rica had a drop in income of traveller to the country, when in the early months of the year the Indians blocked the road Interamericana to keep American differences with the current administration of Government in subjects such as mining concessions, exploitation of forests and hydroelectric constructions, among others. Other ports recorded the arrival of 649 000 697 tourists.
If we classify tourist arrivals by geographic location, the American continent was the largest source of tourists to the isthmus, with a total of 7 million 228 thousand , 428 travellers in 10 years, followed by Europe with 785 thousand, 372, and 240 thousand 745 Asia hikers entered , Oceania contributed with 22 thousand 896 passengers, while Africa reached 7 thousand 968.
Arrival by country.
If we analyze tourist arrivals by country, the United States is the largest emerging market of travellers to Panama, followed by Colombia, Spain, Japan, Australia and South Africa, which come not only attracted by the diversity of tourism that is offered in our country , but by the many travel deals promotions sold in the same.
The average cost per visitor (according to the ATP's what a traveller spends over a period of a week) with the passing of time has also undergone an evolution, because in 2002 this line was $ 883, while last year it was $ 455 thousand.
Ten years ago, it was estimated that a hiker was spending about $ 74 on average per day, in 2011 the cost was $ 182 per day.
To position the country among major emerging markets, ATP allocated a budget of approximately $ 15 million last year to promote the touristic attractions in different national and international markets, dividing this resource in two items which are the national and international promotion.
It consists of entrepreneurs of the sector, who take part in fairs and caravans and show the tourist offers of Panama. Entrepreneurs of the hotel industry, tour operators and car rental companies travel to different markets to promote their packages.
Attracting the attention of tour operators in the world is the goal of the ATP, to show the world of benefits offered as ecotourism, beach tourism, adventure, agro-tourism, conventions, shopping and gastronomic tourism .
Similarly, another of the benefits available to this destination is that the traveller has a life insurance and medical expenses covered, free, in case any accident occurs, during his/her stay in Panama.
The air connectivity has played a major role in local airline Copa Airlines, which travels to 64 destinations in 29 countries of the American continent.
The "home port" (turistic port) is another of the logistics infrastructure that ATP promotes internationally to sell the brand Panama as a touristic destination.
They also run campaigns such as "Visit Panama for Free", with which, travellers on transhipment at the Tocumen airport in the country can remain free days at no additional cost in the airport of Tocumen, they can remain in the country several days free, no additional cost on the airfare.
It also promotes the country as the venue for congresses and conventions, this promotion is that when you choose Panama as the venue for congresses, the Convention Center is provided free of charge, also provides airfare and lodging for three speakers and offer a welcome cocktail.
It is based on the tourism product marketing that is developed inside the country, where in the offseason, hotels and all the attractions of the country benefit from the influx of domestic travellers.
Inside the country it is also held the campaigns” Discover your Interior”, The Thousand of Polleras Parade, Party of Festivals, Devils and Congos Festival, among others.
The impetus for domestic tourism is done ,so that he Panamanians visit the interior of the Republic during the weekends and holidays.It Includes discounts on hotels, restaurants, "spa" and the various activities offered within the country and thus ensure that not all tourism concentrates in the capital of the Republic.
According to Ernesto Orillac, Deputy Administrator of the ATP, for the next year, it will be invested about $ 24.5 million to promote the country on a national and international level.
Of this amount, $ 6 million will be for the realization of advertising campaigns and promotional spots to publicize the advantages offered by Panama as a tourist destination brand.
Some $ 9.5 million will be allocated to institutional resources and promotion: the entity assembles posters, maps, brochures, and organize caravans, fairs, promotions, sponsorship, logistics, promotion, development and personnel moviment.
Four million dollars will be used for this line of advertising, that’s to say,the institution together with the private company make promotional materials advertising: the company invests a certain sum of money and the ATP invests the same amount to jointly develop a better product.
About $ 3 million will be used for the development of Panama as a convention center, this activity has placed the country as the number one in the region in terms of conferences and conventions.
To achieve national brand resources were allocated the amount of $ 2 million, it will position the name of Panama in different tourism markets all over the world. Orillac reserved the right to give details of it, since He prefers to wait until November when it is presented to the whole country.
Similarly, explained that the Panamanian tourism boom is observed by countries in Latin America, as an example, because we have a sustainable growth, and as it is a safe country.
To Orillac, tourism development in Panama is due to the work done with the private company, that is the engine that drives the tourism industry.
They (employers) know where are the tourists and emerging markets, we (ATP) are just a facilitator.
The country needs to increase the supply of aircraft seats to attract more travellers, because the target is positioned in a successful manner, many people don’t find available seats to travel to the isthmus.