Figures: The Spanish lead in the number of entries to the country with 9,597 people, followed by the Italians with 5,408 people.
Europe is looking more at Panama. Figures given by the Autoridad Panameña de Turismo (ATP) (Panama Tourism Authority) show that in the first four months of the year 45,902 people arrived in the country. That would be 1823 more than in 2010 when there where 44,079 people that crossed the isthmus. This marks an increase of 4.1%.
These figures are economically promising, if we consider that tourism contributes 1,445.5 millions of dollars to the National Treasury. This represents 9.5% of Goss Domestic Product (GDP).
Breaking down the figures shows that the Spanish lead in entries to the country form January to April, with 9,597 people. Italians follow with 5,408 tourists, from France there are 4,479 arrivals, from The United Kingdom 4,147, from Germany 4,886, Holland 3,567, and finally Finland with 1,796 entries.
Ernesto Orillac, consultant to the ATP (Panama Tourism Authority), admitted that there are multiple of reasons why the Europeans are coming to Panama, but one of the primary ones, is that they are looking for different experiences than what their localities offer. He also said that their itineraries vary between beach resorts like: Decameron, Breezes, Playa Blanca and Bristol, and hotel nights in the city like: Gamboa Rainforest Resort and Playa Bonita.
He also empathized that the Panama Canal is a mandatory visit. They are known to purchase boat rides in Canal & Bay Tours which offer partial navigation of the inter-ocean channel.
Orillac also stated that the Finish, Swedish and tourists from northern Europe come looking for the tropical weather and they arrive in charter planes.
He also said that the Italians come for the beach resorts; a big percentage of Spanish come for business and the German, who are the biggest tourist market in the world, come for: beach, sun, shopping, Indian handicrafts, folklore and the canal.
Annette Cardenas, President of the Cámara Panameña de Turismo (Panama Tourism Chamber), stated that tourists coming from the Old Continent have longer vacation time and for this reason they can travel to further away destinations and stay for periods of 12 to 15 days. She also stated that the “Hotel Infrastructure” is a key component, she empathized by saying “Panama Hotels have nothing to envy the ones in the rest of the world”.