Boasting some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world and a rich and fascinating culture, it’s easy to see why Panama is so popular with tourists. The country’s allure as a tourist destination grows more powerful every year, and tourism plays a vital role in the nation’s economy.
Data from the World Bank indicates that more than 1.2 million people visited Panama in 2008. In 2011, this figure rose to almost 1.5 million, proving that even in tough economic times, Panama has proven irresistible to many international visitors. In fact, between January and June of this year (2013) alone, more than 1.1 million tourists visited Panama. Next year could be even better for the Panamanian tourism industry, as the Autoridad de Turismo de Panamá plans to launch promotional campaigns in countries including Brazil, Russia and several Asian nations to boost the number of international visitors coming to the country. Many Brazilian tourists have already warmed to Panama as a vacation destination, in part due to the world-class shopping experiences offered by the American-style malls that can be found throughout Panama City.
The strength and resiliency of the U.S. dollar – Panama’s national currency – further adds to the country’s appeal. Although many countries would be thrilled with visitor figures like these, the Panamanian government is keen to leverage the country’s spectacular natural beauty and encourage even more people to visit Panama.
Ernesto Orillac, sub-director for the Autoridad de Turismo de Panamá, said recently that tourism in Panama grew by between 7 and 8 % from 2011 to 2012 alone, and the future looks even brighter for Panama in the coming years. Orillac said that by the end of last year, more than 2.2 million people visited Panama, a particularly striking figure when you consider that Panama’s population stands at around 3.5 million.
Many tourists from the U.S., as well as wealthy visitors from Venezuela and Colombia, come to Panama each year, and the country is becoming increasingly popular with guests from all over the world, including many European nations. Right now, Panama is one of the most popular tourist destinations for travelers from South American countries. In 2012, around 47 percent of visitors hailed from South America, but Panama is rapidly becoming popular with travelers from Paraguay and Peru, too.
North American tourists made up 28 percent of Panama’s tourists last year, with travelers from Europe accounting for about 10 percent of Panama’s international visitors. Spanish tourists are particularly fond of Panama, as are visitors from Switzerland, France and Germany, respectively, but Panama is quickly becoming one of the hottest destinations for travelers from other European countries.
The perfect vacation spot
Visitors from across the globe flock to Panama every year to enjoy its lush tropical rainforest, marvel at the Panama Canal, enjoy some of the finest cuisine in the world and learn more about the country’s fascinating past.
Tourism is booming in Panama, because the country has something for everyone. Whether visitors want to spend their vacations sightseeing in Panama City’s historic Casco Viejo district or exploring the verdant depths of the country’s rainforests, they can do it all. With so much to offer, it should come as little surprise that Panama is becoming increasingly popular every year. As such, hotels are springing up across the country to accommodate the heightened number of visitors, and many of the world’s most luxurious hotel brands have established properties in Panama City and beyond.
To accommodate the growing number of visitors, the Panamanian government has already begun work on the metro, and the system should be ready by April 2014. There is also a new public bus system – the metrobus – which will also contribute to the country’s continued economic expansion. Such infrastructural developments are among the government’s top priorities as millions of people come to this remarkable country for business and pleasure alike.
Although the statistics back up the assertion that Panama is one of the most popular vacation spots in the world, don’t just take our word for it. Contact one of our friendly local travel representatives today and discover for yourself what makes Panama so special!