Panama’s Minister for Tourism, Ivan Xavier Eskildsen Alfaro, hosted a news conference at ITB Berlin NOW on Tuesday afternoon, during which he announced the imminent opening of a major new convention centre.
In his presentation, Alfaro spoke of Panama’s extraordinary natural and cultural heritage, underlining the fact that more than 3 million years ago, the isthmus of Panama emerged from the ocean connecting North and South America allowing the migration of animal species through “The Great American Biotic Exchange”, changing the world’s biodiversity forever.
Alfaro announced a new tourism masterplan, in which his nation’s tourism authority is more than ever looking for “discerning travellers” – people who, above all else, want an authentic and well-preserved environment. He explained the “Tourism Conservation Research Model”, in which tourism routes are based on three pillars – cultural heritage, green heritage, and blue heritage (with almost 3,000 km of coastline), concentrating on Panama’s UNESCO World Heritage sites.
No doubt the most important news is in the fields of MICE and Bleisure tourism, with the opening in Q2 of a 25,000-seat convention centre operated by ASM Global. Strategically located on the Amador Causeway, at the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal, the impressive facility will be equipped with state-of-the-art technology, and is set to “breathe new life into the local hotel and tourism sector”.