In the News from Panama

Agency Looks to Expand Panama City Tourism Offerings

A new initiative is seeking to expand the number of tourist offerings in Panama City, hoping to entice tourists to look beyond the Canal and Casco Viejo. An agency called La Metropolitana de Turismo, a subsidiary of the Municipality of Panama will help finance new approaches to promoting the city and improving attractions, La Prensa reports.

The Metropolitan Tourism Society is owned and controlled by the Municipality, but it will also be structured to allow private investments, according to media reports. The first project will be a complete overhaul of Mi Pueblito complex, the mock Panama village representing different local cultures

The public limited company was created to allow the private sector to participate in pushing tourism projects and to prevent projects from “being paralyzed during administration changes,” Efraín Tapage, manager of the Metropolitan de Turismo, told the newspaper.

The effort is separate from the growing national tourism campaign, which is marketing Panama around the world. The Panama Tourism Authority unveiled a new ad campaign last week, with the slogan, “Not for Tourists.”

The Panama City agency hopes to woo more of the visitors who are making connections through Tocumen International Airport, which is developing as the “Hub of the Americas,” thanks to Copa Airlines’ rapid expansion. More than 10 million passengers traveled through Tocumen last year, but the number of tourists entering Panama fell by 4 percent, to 2.4 million, La Prensa reports.

The agency is preparing an inventory of the city’s tourist offerings, in order to create a plan of action. The primary goal is to “create tourist products, routes and thematic shows that show how life was during the different periods of the history of Panama City,” La Prensa reports

The plan is to link with urban renewal projects in Calidonia, Central Avenue, Santa Ana, San

Felipe and local markets.

“In other cities these places are tourist meeting points and we want to integrate them so that the private sector can offer the routes that are going to be created,” Tapage told the paper