Panama continuing to break tourism records



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Panama City, Panama (PRWEB) February 7, 2009 -- Panama continues to break its own tourism records. Tourism Chamber president Jaime Campuzano told the daily "Panama America": "In 2009 the growth will be sustained because Panama continues diversifying its market and products." In 2008, 1.6 million visitors entered the country, some 211,472 more than in 2007. Of those travelers 1.1 million entered through Tocumen Airport. On average, the number of visitors has grown by 12% per annum between 2004 and 2008. Last year, the USA was the number one provider of tourists to the country, with 308,991 visitors last year. In second place, 209,442 Colombians entered the country. Via land, 124,778 visitors came through Paso Canoas and 276,442 visitors entered through maritime ports. (more)

In 2009 the growth will be sustained because Panama continues diversifying its market and products. The Panama Tourism Authority (ATP) announced that the spending average of tourists totaled $2.2 billion, a 23% increase over the 2007 figures. This represents approximately 12% of the country's Gross Domestic Product, which was $18.6 billion last year.

Hotel occupancy rates are also looking good "Category One" hotels (100 rooms or more) were at 79% occupancy with an 8.9 day average stay. Per-night hotel stays were up 12% last year, with a total of 2.5 million nights of hotel rooms sold.

The increase in demand, according to ATP General Administrator Carl Fredrik Nordström, is due to tourism generated from people who travel from Europe. Direct flights by KLM and Iberia (from Amsterdam and Madrid, respectively) and charters from Finland made great contributions to the positive tourism figures reflected in the 2008 report. Crime against visitors is a very important figure for industry leaders. Last year, 0.04% of the crimes committed were against tourists.

According to Panama Business and Travel S.A. an investment portal dedicated to providing investment news to foreigners, projections for 2009 will exceed 1.8 million visitors coming to Panama and the historical two million mark will be reached in 2010.