Panamainfo’s Blog


Oct. 13th representing Amcham I was invited to hear Minister Salomon Shamah’s presentation about what Panama’s tourism ministry ( ATP)  accomplished  in the first 100 days. It is quite impressive. These are my unofficial notes:


  1. No one has to pass through migration when you leave Panama! As of mid-November, Panama will be the first country in Latin America to use the same system as the USA and Europe- when you leave Panama you will no longer go through immigration, just a baggage security check.  The extra immigration officers will now all be used to shorten lines for immigration for  incoming passengers.

    2. A tourism hotline has been set up to give info, advise and emergency help.  Tourists call 178 . Operators speak English, Spanish, French and Portuguese If a tourist is in an emergency situation, ATP will send a person from ATP to help the tourist.

    1.  . The tourist card has been eliminated.  It was a hassle for airlines and tourists alike- the $5 will now be charged when a air ticket is bought..


    4. The “Panama 25% Off” low season campaign which brought hundreds of tourist to Panama through a discount program organized with the private sector and promoted by ATP.


    5  The “Casco Viejos” in the provincial cities will be restored and made into tourism attractions beginning with David’s Casco Viejo which includes the church and a museum


    1. A tourism signage project has started beginning with Boquete and Bocas which will help tourists get around town and to the main sights.



    1. With the help of ATP, Google maps of the country are being set up to help tourist find their way around the country. 

    2. Four new charter flights will begin in November from Canada.

    10. A top tourism security expert has been hired by ATP who is holding meeting with hotels and other tourism groups to educate them on how to provide safety to tourists.

    1. ATP is using a new slogan in their ads: “Panama Sorprende”. The great thing is that this slogan translates extremely well into English: A catchy: “Panama Surprises”.Minister Shamah explained that Panama is not branded and that we are not a mature destination where things run smoothly. But Panama does surprise, usually in a  good way but sometimes the surprise won’t be good. But Panama is certainly a surprising country as a tourism destination.

    Nancy Hanna. President and Founder Panama Planner

    Chair of the Tourism Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce

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