By Brian Kelly
There was a big increase in cruise ship arrivals on the Amador Causeway in the first quarter of the year, providing an indication of what is ahead for Panama City’s hottest new destination.
A total of 35 cruise ships docked on Amador in the quarter, up from 24 in the same period a year earlier, according to new data released by the Panama Tourism Authority. The number of passengers jumped from 6,122 in 2017 to 16,349 this year, the Tourism Authority reports.
The boost in cruise traffic represents the industry’s growing interest in Panama City, as construction continues on a new, state-of-the-art cruise ship terminal on Amador’s Isla Perico. Amador has been identified as the next great tourism destination in Panama City, with the opening of the Frank Gehry-designed biomusem, a new convention center under construction and miles of waterfront of hike and bath paths.
Amador is one of the few areas in Panama City where short-term rentals are allowed, which should give local owners a big boost when the cruise ship terminal opens. PPR is the exclusive representative of Naos Harbour Island Residences and Marina, where investors are already benefitting from the short-term rental program.
Cruise passengers typically spend about $150 during their time in Panama, according to the Tourism Authority. But that will likely increase as more cruise ships home port in Panama and cruise companies establish routes through Panama City, when the new cruise port is finished on Isla Perico.
The tourism authority provided an update on the new cruise ship terminal, in last week’s announcement. A consortium of Belgian company Jan De Nul and the China Harbor Engineering Company is expected to complete the terminal in 2019, the tourism group says.
The new port will have two docks that will be able to simultaneously handle two ships with up to 5000 passengers, “which is expected to attract tourists from other cruise routes such as Canada, the Caribbean, the Pacific and California.”