In the News from Panama

Panama Launches New Green Tourism Plan

The Panama Tourism Authority (ATP)is preparing for the next generation of travelers expected after the end of the pandemic. This week they announced plans to save nature trails throughout the country, which will be a huge boost for the eco-travelers who already flock to Panama every year.

The “1,000 Kilometers of Trails Project” will preserve important ecological trails critical to tourism, ecology, and scientific discovery, according to ATP, which is working on the plan with the Ministry of the Environment. In addition to conserving nature, the concept is designed to diversify rural economies by supporting green tourism.

If nothing else, the plan is a vivid reminder that Panama is a land of spectacular beauty and Panama tourism is still in its infancy. Eco-tourism is still a relatively new segment in Panama. As more people discover the natural wonders, it will help drive tourism and the economy for years to come.

Green tourism will also be one of the first areas to bounce back after the pandemic, as people search out new, nature-based experiences.

“Tourism based on Panama’s Green Heritage is one of the fundamental areas of the economic reactivation strategy, and it is incredibly important we create and seek out these opportunities,” said Ivan Eskildsen, Panama’s Minister of Tourism. “As a result of the pandemic, travelers are looking to make stronger connections with nature and spaces where they can appreciate biodiversity.”

The first phase of the “1,000 Kilometers of Trails Project” will focus on evaluating the trails in protected areas and garnering community support. The next step will focus on developing a specific plan to develop and protect the trails, according to an ATP release.

“Protected areas, private reserves, roads between rural communities, beaches, mangroves, among others, contain a myriad of recreational and tourist attractions, but they require infrastructure,” said Adrian Benedetti, coordinator of the 1,000 Kilometers of Trails project with the ATP’s product development department. “The project will begin with local volunteers who wish to support the maintenance of these infrastructures, thus opening the way for the growth of Panama’s recreational and tourism sector.”

The ATP says there are 125 protected areas in the country, of which 30 percent are terrestrial and 10 percent are coastal marine, which means the initiative could have widespread impact.  The trails will cover areas very close to communities and private reserves, which are important for the connectivity of protected areas at the national level, according to the government release. As part of the overall tourism plan, the Ministry of Environment intends to increase the protected coastal marine areas from 10 percent to 30 percent, a big step in preserving Panama’s beautiful coastline.