In the News from Panama

President Approves New International Tourism Fund

After months of speculation and debate, Panama is ready to move forward with a plan to create a fund specifically focused on promoting Panama tourism around the world.

President Juan Carlos Varela this week signed a bill launching the International Tourism Promotion Fund, which will give Panama a steady funding source to promote the country’s attributes on a global scale. Money will come from a variety of public and private sources, including the $10 international passenger service fee at Tocumen International Airport, according to coverage in La Estrella.

The hotel and tourism industry has been complaining for years that the government has not been doing enough to support tourism. Considering the country’s array of attributes, many believe tourism has the potential for tremendous growth.

The new fund offers a “financial structure that will allow it to streamline policies, programs and projects vital” in the competition for international travelers, La Estrella wrote.

“Countries like Mexico, Colombia and the Dominican Republic have been successful because they have this resource to promote their tourist destinations at an international level,” said Gustavo Him, head of the Tourism Authority of Panama

The National Assembly approved the creation of the fund in February. Last September the government also announced plans to spend $20 million on a new tourism promotion campaign.


In announcing the signing of the new bill, Pres. Varela pointed to the interior as one area long overdue for tourism promotion. Boosting tourism in the interior would boost the economy for “all Panamanians,” he said.