Panama: Hotel Occupancy Rates Fail to Rally

Between January and July, occupancy fell by 6% compared to the same period in 2016, and projections by employers for the second half of the year are not very encouraging.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The hotel trade union believes that there are not many options for trying to change the situation in the sector, mainly caused by less tourism promotion at an international level in the last four years. The situation also indicates that perhaps it is not only lack of promotion explaining the low occupancy rates, but also a clear oversupply of rooms.

See also: "Panama: Rio Hato Wants to Attract More Tourism"

Gustavo Him, administrator of the Tourism Authority of Panama, is confident that the promotion campaign currently being carried out at the international level will help to improve the situation of the hotel sector. 

See also: "Incentives for Local Tourism in Panama"

According to, Sara Pardo, president of the Panamanian Association of Hotels (Apatel), "... believes that there is little that can be done to change the current trend and says that the sector is confident that numbers will improve, but it will be in 2018."

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More on this topic

Tourism Numbers in Panama Don't Match

May 2015

Tourism companies have denounced underspending in the budget for international promotion of the country and assert that the official figures for hotel occupancy are not real.

Industry representatives argue that the hotel occupancy rate published by the Tourism Authority merely represents a sample of some large hotels in the capital ", while data from hotels in the interior of the country are not even taken into account in the statistics. Added to this problem is the low implementation of the budget for marketing tourism in the country. According to a report by the ATP, "... as of April 30, 2015, not a single penny has been invested of the $2 million earmarked for the development of Panama as a country brand."

Hotel Price War Continues in Panama

March 2015

While occupancy rates and average prices continue to fall, the Panamanian hotel market is preparing to increase its supply by another 1,200 rooms at the end of the year.

The Panamanian Association of Hotels (Apatel) reports that in recent years there has been a 209% increase in the number of rooms available in the country, in contrast to demand which has only grown by 5% annually.

Hotel Parking No Longer Free

December 2013

Panamanian hotels are following the trend in the U.S. and Europe and start to charge their customers.for parking services.

"Charging for the use of parking is a general trend in the country in buildings, hospitals and shopping centers," said Sara Pardo, CEO of Westin Hotel in Costa del Este. There they charge $4 Monday to Saturday for the use of parking lots, while on Sundays the service is free.

Hotel Occupation Increases due to Conferences

July 2010

Hotel occupation up by 8% in the first five months of the year relative to the same period in 2009.

Sara Pardo, president of the Panamanian hotel association (Apatel), commented that the rise in the number of conferences held in Panama was a crucial contributing factor.

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