Panama to have the largest hall of Central America in Spain

The Panama Tourism Authority (ATP) will have the largest pavilion among all Central American countries to participate in the FITUR tourism fair in Madrid, Spain.

Measuring 296 square meters and spanning two floors, Panama's stand exceeds in size those of Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala. It will hold fifteen companies that represent hotels, tour operators, travel agencies and Copa Airlines, who along with executives of the Panama Tourism Authority will turn travel into business, and business into economic development.

In Panama's pavilion at the 2012 fair, the ATP met with 500 professionals to promote the country as a destination, and with business people who were purchasing and learning more about the tourism products.

Salo Shamah, the ATP General Manager, says that Panama will bring a wide range of attractions to FITUR, such as the Tourist Medical Insurance, ethnic groups, beaches, the Stop Over, which allows Copa passengers in transit to stay in Panama, the new Amador Convention Center, Gehry Museum, the Panama Canal expansion, its new look-out point at Gatún, destinations like Bocas, the Chiriquí highlands, Pedasí, El Valle and flights from Europe on KLM and Iberia. “At these fairs we look to do business and be competitive. Panama offers many advantages to wholesalers, businessmen and tourists,”  Shamah said. 

Experts who measured the return value of the Panama tourism industry's participation in FITUR 2012 indicate that they obtained 5,379,302 euros in advertising and 16.1 million euros in information.

Held from January 30 to February 3, last year 9,506 business people from 167 countries participated in FITUR. This event had an attendance of nearly 100,000 visitors and 6,313 journalists from 54 countries. The fair organizers expect to surpass those figures by 10% in 2013.

Panama's stand, which has already been awarded for its design in FITUR, is an ideal place to do business, where each company has their own space to conduct meetings, supported by electronic screens that give the best display of their products. The stand also has a bar to serve food to visitors and an area for a DJ to play the music that tourists will hear in Panama.

The ATP considers that sharing this space with private enterprise leads to very good results, and has allocated B/ 2.2 million for this budget item. The main target of the fair is the European market, which as of November 2012 contributed a total of 132,639 tourists, with an 8.6% growth.