Panama is just not feeling the effects of the economic downturn like most places. American Airlines reports that flights to and from Panama are are up 7.8% so far this year and that they will soon add another Miami-Panama flight. Continental is also up and they will soon add another Houston flight.
Also, hotelier expert Fidel Reyes ofFR Consulting tells me that Panama is now making more money on tourism than Costa Rica. Panama has less tourists but those tourists spend more. The reason for this of course is that most of Panama’s tourists are businessmen coming to Panama City and businessmen spend more money than regular tourists. Panama has several megaprojects starting up including the 5 billion dollar expansion of the Panama Canal. It is also is increasingly business capital of the Americas, especially since businesses can no longer get visas for their employees for meetings in the States with any consistency.
President Panamainfo.com/The Panama Planner
I just spent the weekend staying in the new wing of Los Mandarinos mountain resort in El Valle. I came back soaked in beauty and peace.
What a perfect get away.
I loved Mandarinos deluxe new wing- it has one of the most beautiful swimming pools I have seen- with muted natural colors, intriguing shapes that embrace flowers and a spectacular mountain view as a backdrop. Owner Pedro Fabrega also has also built new facilities with families in mind, including a childrens play room, a children’s pool and a snack bar.
The handsomely appointed deluxe rooms have large picture windows that look out on the gorgeous Gaital peak with the beautiful marble floors and tiling. On the top floor there is two bedroom suite which includes a terrace jacuzzi with some of the best views in all Panama.
Another great addition to El Valle is Los Mandarinos new on-premise restaurant O’Pedros, which is Panama’s first Irish pub. It features a fine large bar in rich dark wood, tables inside and tables large wooden deck with views. ( At Mandarinos you will always find me taking in the views.) I loved the shepherds pie, club sandwich and even the hamburger was delicious.
O’Pedros Pub is open from 8am to 10pm to everyone- so if you can’t stay at Los Mandarinos, at least come here to drink or dine .
The entire resort is beautifully landscaped with expansive grounds with soft grass and a bright variety of flowers everywhere.
There is also a well appointed full service spa with an outside jacuzzi, sauna etc.
The staff is very attentive- it is exciting to see how fast the El Valle locals are learning to take care of tourists.
I talked to Anne, the capable French manager and she says they are doing very well-bookings are well up over last year. About 70% are locals and 30% are tourists. She says more and more businesses are choosing Mandarinos for conferences.
Congrats to Pedro Fabrega and the whole team at Los Mandarinos for giving Panama a superlative place to enjoy Panama’s mountain beauty.
Check it out at www.losmandarinos.com
Below is the link to an article by Simon Black, a knowledgeable ex-pat who explains why Panama will be the capital of Latin America beating out other candidates like Miami ( which was the de facto capital) Sao Paulo, Santiago, Mexico City etc.
I agree with him but I would go further and say Panama is destined be the Capital of the Americas- which includes not only Latin America but also the Caribbean and North America.
One factor which he does not mention, is that the major reason in my opinion Miami will no longer be the de facto capital is 9/11. Since 9/ll no international business can get visas for its employees to the US with any consistency. This is a deal killer for businesses. This is the major reason Miami is ceasing to be the business capital of Latin American and the Caribbean and Panama is in the process of taking it’s place.
He also does not mention an important new development which is Panama’s new President Martinelli, a successful business man dedicated to improving the lives of all Panamanians who has put together an effective,honest team which is briskly making the changes Panama needs from top to bottom. His goal is for Panama to be “the best place in the world to do business” and he is dead serious.
Sam Taliaferro, the owner Valle Escondido, Panama’s original resort community posted an important interview with an American retiree couple who were invited to converse with Panama’s new President Ricardo Martinelli when they ran into his group at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Panama City. President Martinelli told this couple ” he wants to make it very easy for Americans to move here and to invest. He said he was planning on having meetings with ex-pats to see what their concerns are. He told us it was going to be easier to get residency, drivers license and he was going to make it safer.”
See the whole interview here:
We are also are hearing that Pres. Martinelli is moving quickly on a number of fronts so that foreigners who invest and live in Panama will have less bureaucratic hassles with government in immigration and setting up businesses etc. He will also improve security which is already excellent compared to other countries in the region. The police have been instructed to help foreigners in any way they can and not hassle them as has happened in the past.
In fact, in his inaugural address President Martinelli declared his goal to make “Panama the best place in the world to do business”. This man does not think small. And he is proving as good as his word on his campaign promises.