Panama Still Not Promoting Tourism

The tender to promote the country as a tourist destination has still not materialized, while the hotel industry is left juggling in its attempt to raise occupancy rates.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

$40 million, not $100 million, is now the price tag for the tender which the Tourism Authority will soon announce, which will also have a shorter term of 2 years instead of 4 as before. The hotel industry states that the difficulties faced in attracting more tourists are due to a lack of international promotion of the country, which has not run any significant tourism promotion campaigns abroad since 2012.

See also: "Tough competition amongst Panama's hotels".

"... Although the specifications are 95% complete, the National Tourism Council (CNT), the governing body of the ATP, gave its approval to proceed with the international tender. A source who asked not to be named said that at the last meeting of the CNT, a week ago, it was agreed that in the next two years 26 million dollars will be invested in international promotion, $13 million per year. However, in the meeting not the of all members gave approval for a national campaign in which the ATP planned to invest $2.5 million per year." reports that "... Although tourist arrivals to the country have maintained a positive performance in recent years, this increase has not been sufficient to absorb the oversupply of hotel rooms that exist in the capital city. Up until October hotel occupancy was 52.9%, ie the majority of hotels in the province of Panama were operating with more than 45% of their rooms left empty. "

More on this topic

Panama: Money Allocated for Tourism Promotion

April 2016

After three years without any tourism marketing, the authority for the sector has announced that $10 million will be spent on international promotion, aside from the $5 million already being tendered in a domestic campaign.

The uneven internal and external promotion of tourism in Panama could have seen better days.

Panama: Pending Tender for Tourism Promotion

May 2015

While hotel occupancy continues to fall, the tourism authorities are still reviewing the conditions for tendering international tourism promotion, pending since 2013.

Although a spokespeople for the Tourism Authority of Panama (ATP) say they have maintained tourism marketing efforts through other tactics such as presence in international fairs, the tender to hire an advertising agency to be responsible for international promotion has not yet been published. Last year the ATP had said that would be announced in the first quarter of 2015, "... but it is now scheduled for the second half of the year, with the selected company being responsible for promotion from 2016 to 2019."

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 Profits Down 20% in Panama

June 2014

Although the number of tourists coming to Panama City continues to grow, there is still an oversupply of rooms, and in the last 3 years average occupancy has fallen by 10%.

The prevailing oversupply in the sector has begun to affect hotels, whose financial profits have been reduced by 20%.

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