Panama: Call to Eliminate Taxes for Tourists

Hoteliers have suggested making Panama a "duty free" zone for tourists, eliminating customs and import duties and refunding ITBMS to visitors.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Faced with the loss of competitiveness in the Panama hotel sector, entrepreneurs are asking for customs and import taxes to be eliminated, and tourists to be refunded the ITBMS charged when leaving the country. The ultimate goal is to increase the national ITBMS to above 7%, to offset the import tax, informed Herman Bern, of the hotels Miramar, Le Meridien and Westin to

See also: "Panama: Hotels React to Low Occupancy Rates"

"... Octavio Vallarino, owner of Marriott hotels, said "this is a very important idea, since Panama is known as a shopping center in the region and this would be a great incentive for visitors'. Entrepreneurs managed to form a committee to discuss with the Government the best way to use money available in the short term, while the Fund is being structured, and in this way increase the tourist population as soon as possible ."

See also: "Tough Competition for Hotels in Panama"

In addition to the initiative to turn Panama into a "duty free" zone for tourists, businessmen are also promoting a national tourism conference with the participation of all unions and maximizing profits once the Amador Convention Center is built. "...'We are late for the convention center, as we need, as of now, a promoter to start selling conventions for when it is completed in 2018', said Vallarino."

More on this topic

Panama: Hotels React to Low Occupancy Rates

March 2016

Solutions are being sought to the lack of promotion of the country and unfair competition from illegal hotels, so that the occupancy rate, which went from 70% in 2011 to 52% in 2015, can be improved.

According to the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic, the occupancy rate in Panama fell once again last year, going from 56.1% in 2014 to 52.3% in 2015.

Incentives for Convention Tourism Removed

August 2014

According to tourism businesses in Panama, eliminating benefits for this segment of the touristic market will hurt an activity which contributes $300 per day per tourist.

The Tourism Authority of Panama (ATP) stated in Panamanian media that "... from January, the rental of Atlapa Convention Center will not be free for anyone" ... claiming that it costs money both for the State and the authority responsible for tourism.

Bern Invests $40 Million in New Hotel in Panama

September 2010

The 200 room hotel will be developed in partnership with Westin Panama and Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

The construction of the new accommodation has already begun in the "Costa del Este" area of the Panamanian capital and is expected to finish by the end of 2012.

"Osvaldo Librizzi, Starwood president for Latin America, said that Westin Panama combined with Westin Playa Bonita will enable larger groups to be brought to Panama," reports

Hotel Le Meridién Opens in Panama

September 2009

After a $25 million investment, the company Bern Hotels & Resorts Panama inaugurated its first Le Meridién in the country.

The hotel is located in the City of Panama, in the intersection of Uruguay Street and Balboa Avenue, and has 111 rooms, of which 25% are suites.

With this addition, Bern Hotels & Resorts Panama now has 6 hotels and over 1.000 rooms in the country.