In the News from Panama

European Flights Boost Panama Air Traffic

Passenger traffic through Tocumen International Airport is on pace to set a new record this year, thanks in large part to increased traffic from Europe.

The number of passengers entering Panama at Tocumen is expected to jump from 14 million in 2016 to more than 16 million this year, a 14.3 percent increase, according to recent statements from the Panama Tourism Authority. One of the main drivers is the number of passengers from Europe, which increased by more than 25 percent in the first five months, the Authority reports.

Spain’s Iberia airlines, Lufthansa, Air France and Turkish Air also boosted their passenger revenue to Panama in the first half of the year, according to the Tourism Authority’s report. Iberia saw the biggest increase, with 30,677 passengers, a 31.7 percent jump from 2016. Only 3,202 passengers arrived from Turkey but was 2,544 more than in the same period a year earlier. Turkish Air added a direct flight from Istanbul to Panama in May 2016.

Panama is benefiting from several new direct flights from Europe, including a new Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt. But the upbeat numbers also reflect the impact of Panama’s new marketing push, Authority administrator Gustavo Him told La Estrella de Panamá.

“The country’s tourism promotion has been 100 percent digital,” Him said. “We have public relations in the three main places where we are promoting. And in turn collaborative actions with airlines.”

Panama is “increasingly awakening the interest of the European market,” Him said, with marketing focused on historical sites, the beautiful islands, gastronomy, ecotourism, and culture.

Overall, Tocumen generated $98.7 million in revenue in the first five months of the year, up from $87.8 million in the same period a year earlier, La Prensa reports.