Staged every four years, two years after the Olympics, the regional Games are one of the biggest sporting events in the region. For Panama, it will be another opportunity to show off the growing city, attracting international press and plenty of footage of Panama’s attributes.
The Games will also reflect Panama’s ability to host major international events, coming on the heels of the World Youth Day in January. Nothing demonstrates the maturity of a country and spotlights the economy like big sporting events, which are large logistical challenges, bringing in thousands of people from dozens of different countries.
At a recent meeting of the Central American and Caribbean Sports Organization, Panama officials said they are moving forward on preparations and the Games are on schedule.
This will be the third time Panama will host the games – it previously hosted in 1938 and 1970. Panama is expected to invest $200 million to support the Games, including infrastructure that will remain long after the Games are finished.
Plans call for the construction of an aquatic center with two swimming pools, a racket court, two sports centers for volleyball and fighting disciplines, and a velodrome. But Panama, in many ways, is already well positioned to host the Games. It is not expected to build an Olympic Village since there is a wealth of hotel rooms available.
While the Games will require an investment from Panama, they should pay off in promotional value, tourism support and increased investment in the city.