Week in Review – Vol. 21#22

Phasing out Corredor card users

Corredor drivers who use cards to pass through the toll booths may do so until Sunday, June 21, after which time they will have to have a Panapass sticker installed in the vehicle. After Monday, May 25, the sale and recharge of cards will be suspended. Those users who still have balances on their preloaded cards can transfer them to their Panapass account from July 6 or wait until August to make a request to have their card balance reimbursed as cash. According to ENA, the company that runs Panama’s toll road system, more than 290,000 users currently use the Panapass stickers and that more than 100,000 more are expected to join in the next month.

Panama’s wetlands in peril

In April, a group of Dutch scientists hired by Panama City’s Mayor’s Office concluded their studies of the wetlands along the Bay of Panama. They warn that the wetlands, especially in the neighborhood of Juan Díaz, are under “intensified risk” if ever confronted by natural disaster, due to urban development that failed to account for the area’s hydrography in the building of structures and to poor handling of waste. The Dutch team presented their findings to Raisa Banfield, the Deputy Mayor of Panama City, whose team is now working on a plan to “reclaim the zone.”

New Crowne Plaza Panamá Aeropuerto unveiled

With an investment of over $20 million, Bern Hotels & Resorts recently inaugurated the Crowne Plaza Panamá Aeropuerto, located minutes from Tocumen International in the Global Business Terminal on Vía Tocúmen. “At Bern Hotels & Resorts we feel proud to debut the ninth property in the group’s portfolio,” said Oliver Sanmartin, General Manager of the new Crowne Plaza. Established in 1978, Bern Hotels & Resorts is a leading hotel and real estate company based in Panama.

ATP promotes Panama’s convention market in Frankfurt

Panama’s Tourism Authority (ATP) recently promoted the country as a destination for conventions at the IMEX travel trade show held in Frankfurt, Germany, May 19 – 21. The team at the ATP’s Destination Marketing Office (DMO), headed by María Elena Guerra, attended the event with a group of 15 Panamanian companies that included Bern Hotel & Resort Panamá, Hotel Riu Plaza Panamá, Hotel El Panamá, Hoteles Decameron and the Hilton Hotel. IMEX, one of the world’s top travel expos, features more than 3,500 expositors from over 150 countries.

UNESCO mission to study shipwrecked galleon

The Panamanian government, through the National Institute of Culture (INAC), submitted a petition to UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, to send a group of scientists to study the shipwreck of the San José, a Spanish galleon that sunk in the Archipelago of Las Perlas in the XVII century. The UNESCO mission is expected to arrive in the first half of July to begin their research. Built in 1611, the San José galleon was journeying to Panama from the port of Callao in Peru with an important shipment of gold and silver onboard. It sunk to the east of Saboga Island on on June 17, 1631 after encountering uncharted rocky shallows near Galera Island.

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