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“Without borders”

Tourism companies from Costa Rica and Panama meet in David, Chiriquí

'Without borders' to strengthen ties between members of tourism sector
Counterparts: Angel Ponce, the ATP regional director of Chiriquí and Pedro González, Costa Rica’s regional tourism director of its Southern Zone.

On October 26, the Gran Hotel Nacional in David in the Chiriquí province was the stage for the fifth celebration of the Panamanian and Costa Rican Tourism Businesses Meeting. The meeting was called “Sin Fronteras” or “Without Borders” and sought to strengthen ties between members of this tourism sector.

The meeting was especially popular among businesses from the Southern Zone of Costa Rica, specifically the Pacific side, and from both sides of Panama, in Chiriquí and Bocas del Toro.

As a result of meetings held by this group, which have taken place in Boquete, Volcán, Bambito and in Costa Rica, a bi-national commission has been formed to facilitate the ease of border crossings for tourists.

Representing Costa Rica at the event were: Pedro González, regional director of tourism in the Southern Zone, Luis Centeno, president of the Osa Peninsula Tourism Chamber (CATUOSA) and the Costa Rican consulate in David, Flora Venegas.

Representing Panama regional Panama Tourism Authority (ATP) director Angel Ponce, Libertad Arosemena of the ATP’s community tourism program, Bocas del Toro hotelier Tito Thomas and Raquel Atencio of the Interior Tourism Chamber Network.

2011 International fair schedule

The Visitor goes back on the road to four international tourism fairs

Four special editions of The Visitor at international tourism fairs

Focus Publications INT, S.A. announces that The Visitor / El Visitante Panamá newspaper will distribute four special editions this year at international tourism fairs as a member of the Panama Tourism Authority (ATP) delegation.

Advertisers will have the opportunity to reach a bigger and broader market at the international fairs by participating with The Visitor in these editions.

For detailed information on the profiles of attendees by fair, contact Sales and Marketing Manager Patricia Puentes at patricia@focuspublicationsint.com or call 225-6638 ext. 123.

International fair coverage

Plenty of reasons to visit, many ways to get here

The Visitor and Focus in London
Panama in London: Front Row: ATP marketing director Nathalie Tesone; minister’s assistant Maricarmen Rios; ATP vice minister Ernesto Orillac; ATP communications chief Magda de Moreno; Focus Publications Group marketing and sales manager Patricia Puentes, and journalists representing the daily Panamá América and RPC Channel 21.
Back row: Ethnic representative Elvin Flaco, ATP marketing executive Nixia Lasso, cultural attaché Ramon Abadi of the Panamanian Embassy in London, and the director of the folklore group “Raices” Jose Sosa.

Signs at the World Travel Market (WTM) in London this week pointed to growing interest in Panama as a destination from the U.K. and Europe. Although there are no direct flights from London as yet, options for travellers have recently increased with new schedules from Iberia via Madrid, KLM via Amsterdam, Air Condor via Frankfurt, Delta via Atlanta and Continental via Houston.

WTM is one of the most important tourism fairs in the world and a perfect platform for all the European markets. Panamanian representatives at this year’s event, from Monday to Friday this week, closed many deals which will place the country in catalogues of tour operators next year.

Thirteen Panamanian companies joined the stand organized by the Panamanian Tourism Authority (ATP), representing hotels, travel and tour agencies, and rent-a-car companies. Focus Publications Group was also represented by marketing manager Patricia Puentes who distributed copies of the Focus Guidebook and ‘The Visitor” weekly newspaper and promoted online versions of the publications.

The Visitor and Focus in London
Central America inaugurated its section of the WTM London tourism fair at the Panama Stand. Ministers and vice ministers from the region attended the ribbon cutting ceremony.

The stand emphasised the opportunities in Panama for cultural, adventure and eco tourism. Folk dancers from the National Dance and Folklore Company in colorful costumes and body painting by an Embera Indian couple, who demonstrated their art on visitors to the stand, drew a lot of attention.

Sr. Ernesto Orillac vice-minister of the ATP gave interviews to media attending the event, emphasising that Panama this year hosted the World Surf Championship and was among the top ten destinations chosen by National Geographic. He also promoted Carnival for 2012 and Panama’s International Film Festival scheduled for April.

ULatina opens new Engineering Faculty

The newly-inaugurated faculty at the ULatina University in Panama City is also the first exclusive site dedicated to this field of study in the country. With an investment of $2.5 million the new building has ten equipped laboratories. The Dean of Enginnering´s Faculty of The opening ceremony was attended by the Dean of Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Gary S. May, who was named Doctor Honoris Causa during the celebration.

Free 30 day insurance for tourists

Panama gives free health insurance for 30 days to all who enter the country through Tocumen International Airport. Cards promoting this benefit are available at the airport. But carrying the card is not necessary to collect on the policy to cover medical expenses for accidents that occur while in national territory.

Visitors to the country who have a medical emergency must simply show the entrance stamp on their passport to the hospital staff and the Panama Tourism Authority (ATP) will cover the cost through a blanket policy provided through Generali Insurance.

Through this effort, Panama expects to capture a greater percentage of the tourism market by making visitors to our country feel safer through providing this free value-added service. There is an exclusive hotline for questions and concerns regarding the new policy, reachable at 204-9300 and 204 2312.

Isthmian Update

Some of the news in Panama

Ironing out the US FTA
Officials from the Office of the US Trade Representative will meet with Panamanian authorities. The delegation, led by Miriam Sapiro, second head of the USTR, and who visited the country this week, seeks to coordinate the next steps for the implementation of the trade promotion agreement (TPA) between the two countries, said the U.S. Embassy.

First lock gate under construction
The Unidos por el Canal Group began structuring the first gate of the 16 to be installed in the new locks of the widened Panama Canal. The consortium, composed of Sacyr, Impregilo, Jan de Nul and Urban Construction, which designs and builds the new locks, said the new gates are manufactured on the premises of the subcontractor Cimolai, which has its workshops in Polcenigo, Italy.

Money for Model School
The Ministry of Education allocated $11 million to build a new school in La Chorrera and update the Professional and Technical Institute (IPT), in the same district. The new facility has been dubbed the “Model School” according to a statement from the Ministry of Education (Meduca). The Minister, Lucy Molinar, said that regardless of the adjectives “they are good schools” with proper technological infrastructure, and the concept was of following the best practices of the last private schools built in the country, such as St. Augustine and Javier.

Not a tax haven
The Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama rejected the accusations made in the G-20 summit, which indicated that Panama is a “tax haven”. Federico Humbert Arias, president of the Chamber, said “we do not agree with the OECD [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development] pointing to Panama as a ‘tax haven’ after our country abided by all recommendations concerning fiscal transparency.”

More news >>

Wind energy tender
Eight bids were received by the state Electric Transmission Company, Inc. (ETESA), in the first wind energy tender in Panama, looking to buy 121 megawatts (MW) of electrical power to be used from 2014 to 2028. Participating in the bidding were Unión Eólica Panameña, with four offers; Helium Energies Panamá, with two more; Fersa Energies Renovables and Innovent Central America, with one each.

Bill to protect Ngäbe mineral resources
The president of the Commerce Commission of the National Assembly, Raul Hernandez, reminded the Minister of Commerce, Ricardo Quijano, and the Executive, that the Assembly has a commitment to approve the special law proposed by the Indians for the protection of mineral resources in the Ngäbe Bugle area.

Mining expansion in 2012
Minera Panama hopes to start the extraction site of Balboa in 2012 and thus expand to more than three areas its production plan for copper, gold and molybdenum in Colón. The mineral deposit of Balboa was discovered in August 2010 within the concession area of 13,000 hectares and has larger reserves than those in the initial plan of extraction in Botija, Valle Grande and Colina, presented in the environmental impact assessment.

Labor dilemma
The Panamanian labor market is undergoing a dilemma: insufficient labor for work in tourism, technology, communications, construction and financial intermediation among others. An Employment Investigations Department study of the Ministry of Labor and Workforce Development (MITRADEL) shows this. It also reveals that by the end of this year and early 2012 in the hotel industry 11,000 new workers will be needed.

Tourism insurance expense figures
In the first eight months of the year the Tourism Authority of Panama (ATP) has paid about $1.5 million for the insurance coverage of visitors entering the Tocumen International Airport. The contract, for three years, was signed by the ATP and Generali to cover anyone visiting the country for the first 30 days.