A destination with international appeal

The information booth of the Panama Tourism Authority (ATP) in Valle de Antón recorded a total of 9,795 tourist consultations in 2013, of which approximately 52.1% were by foreigners. 

Marcos Muñoz, an ATP official, indicates that the remaining 48% were domestic visitors. "El Valle de Antón is a destination for all kinds of tourists, both national and international.

They come and ask about hotels, restaurants, safe hiking spots, bird watching tours, biking adventures, and the traditional sites to visit in this place."

El Valle is situated 28 km from the Pan-American Highway, 2 hours from Panama City, and only 30 minutes from the beach resorts. Its attractions are mountain-based.

Tourist arrivals over the last two years have nearly doubled. From January to April in 2014, there were 3,089 tourists in the country, reflecting a 46.5% growth over the same period in 2012, when only 2,108 visitors arrived.

An analysis of figures from the ATP information booth also shows a rise in tourists from France, Holland, and Spain, a growth that corresponds to the increased flight frequencies on the Air France, KLM, and Iberia airlines.

In the first four months of 2014, France sent 62 tourists in January, 73 in February, 18 in March, and 11 in April.

Most tourists who visit El Valle, however, are from Canada or the United States.

The destinationof El Valle has just over 29 hotels and 9 restaurants, and it is beginning to build relationships with international tourism operators like Collette, Apple Vacation, and Red Circle, reports Anne Franzao of Hotel Los Mandarinos.

These tourists buy packages sold in international markets. Agreements have been signed to bring in tourists to spend two nights at this hotel and visit ecological sites in El Valle.

Andrés Villa