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Panama seeks multi-destination with Colombia, Costa Rica and Dominican Republic for Chinese

Posted on 2019-06-12

A proposal to promote a multi-destination exchange with Colombia, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic is one of the strategies analyzed by Panama to attract more tourists from China, said the administrator of the Tourism Authority of Panama (ATP), Gustavo Him.
The entrance of visitors from the Asian country to Panama grew as a result of the establishment of diplomatic relations with China in June 2017, which is why future connections with these three countries are contemplated, as well as cruise routes in the Caribbean and Pacific. 
"Colombia like Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic are interested in the Chinese market, and this market has to offer a multi-destination, because traveling from so far can be good, but if you offer a multi-destination you give something extra", noted Him. 
He argued that it is "mandatory" for Panama to think of China as a world tourism power, given that according to the World Tourism Organization (WTO), it is the largest tourist market in the world and ranks among the five countries with the highest rate of expenditure.
"The potential we have for China is very much, and we have to take care of it in a different way, because when it is activated you get massive highlights," he said. 
The entry of Chinese from Panama until March of this year grew by 30%, said Him, who presented a management report on the five years of Administration of Panamanian President, Juan Carlos Varela, which will end next Sunday. 
In 2017 the People's Republic of China designated Panama as "Approved Tourist Destination", a recognition that allows highlighting the attractions of nature, culture and history to the inhabitants of the Asian giant. 
The administrator highlighted Panama already has a direct flight from Air China that connects Beijing with Panama City,
"Business tourism, like recreational tourism, is fundamental for our country, before we only focused on traditional markets such as Latin America, but now we have" to see and take advantage of "opportunities in other latitudes," he said. 
The administrator of the ATP informed that between July 2014 and March 2019, 11.7 million tourists arrived in Panama through the different ports of entry to the country, most of them from the United States, Colombia and Brazil, Spain and Germany. 
This represented an increase of 978,353 tourists compared to the period from January 2009 to June 2014, according to the ATP. 
Him acknowledged that the figures were somewhat affected especially by the economic crisis in Venezuela and the competition of other neighboring nations increasingly strong in their tourism. 
In the report, Him also highlighted the creation of the Tourist Promotion Fund, which has been disbursed some 10 million dollars -of the total of 20 million that correspond to him- for his annual budget, intended for the country's international advertising  campaign. 
As well as the actions in local and international promotion through tourist campaigns, fairs abroad, promotion of destinations in digital platforms and support in cultural fairs and congresses.
Tourism represents around 10% of the gross domestic product (GDP) of Panama, one of the most dynamic countries in the region, which in 2018 experienced an economic growth of 3.7%.

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