Tourists in Panama spend more, but Travel Less

Note: this is just a translation of a news article appearing in La Estrella de Panama newspaper in Panama on 5 July 2016. The article is authored by Mirta Rodriguez P. and is the property of La Estrella de Panama. The British Chamber of Commerce in Panama does not claim ownership of the contents of the article, just the translation presented below.


In the first quarter of 2016, tourists that visited Panama spent more, but traveled less to the country, a report by the Department of Comptroller and Statistics of the Tourism Authority of Panama (ATP) revealed.

The income left by the tourists in the country rose by 4.2% with respect to the same period in 2015, and according to the Administrator of ATP, Gustavo Him, were driven in large part by the greater culinary choices, greater competition among the malls, a variety of eco-tourism activities, and that the purchasing power of visitors has increased.

From January to April 2016 tourism generated income of $1.648 billion, or $66.8 million more from 2015, when it was $1.582 billion.

Likewise, the report shows that the flow of visitors from January to April 2016 was 942,856 visitors, which is a decrease of 2.5% with respect to the same time period as 2015. This means that the first quarter of this year, the country received 24,311 less visitors than the previous year, which only irritates the situation of low hotel occupancy; although Him has assured that efforts are being made to attract more visitors and fill the vacant rooms.

According to preliminary data corresponding to hotels classified under tourism in Panama City, in the time frame of January to April 2016, the global room occupancy percentage has been around 50.7%, and 53.5% for Group 1 hotels and 41.4% for Group 2 hotels.

“We are organising an offer for tourism with the aim to attract tourists to remain in Panama for more days,” stated Him.

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