In the News from Panama

New Convention Center a Game Changer for Panama City

Work is progressing on the Amador Convention Center, another of the large-scale projects transforming Panama City.

The $193 million center is scheduled to open in 2015, which will be the largest center of its kind in the country. In the competitive world of meetings, the center will give Panama City a modern 570,000 square-foot-facility, with a banquet hall, outdoor amphitheater and 1,500-seat performing arts center.

Panama’s convention business is already growing at a steady clip, thanks, in large part, to the addition of a variety of new hotels. In 2012, Panama hosted 126 conventions, compared to 66 in 2011, according to the Panama Tourism Authority.

As Panama grows as the regional center for business, conventions and meetings will be a big part of that role – and that will help fuel the property industry. Conventions will bring more customers for hotel rooms and long-term tenants for apartments, in addition to exposing Panama City to an audience of business executives from around the world.

The Convention Center is near the new Frank Gehry-designed bio-diversity museum and the Panama Canal, which should complete a massive expansion in 2015. Panama City is also moving forward with the second phase of the metro as well as new road projects.

Amador Convention Center_Two

According to a promotional statement for the convention center that has been popping on the Web sites of convention and meeting trade magazines this week, Panama is already starting to promote the new center. And they are growing more competitive.

“In the lead-up to the opening of Amador Convention Center, ATP is currently offering incentives to companies and organizations to host their meetings in Panama, including a welcome cocktail event and folklore show offering the best of Panamanian culture” the article says. “Until the new convention center opens, Panama’s current site for major events, the ATLAPA Convention Center, is free to organizers of events who meet a minimum quota of participants.”

More conventions means more business travelers to Panama City and that is more good news for the property industry.

Duncan McGowan is president of Punta Pacifica Realty, a Panama real estate agency focused on Punta Pacifica, the exclusive neighborhood of 18 towers perched on the edge of the Pacific Ocean.