The Expo Turismo Internaccional 2022 in Panama City just concluded. March 25 and 26 was a unique opportunity for this central American country to reopen its borders for international tourism.
The guest of honor was the President of SKAL International, Burcin Turkkan.
SKAL, the world’s largest Tourism Association with more than 12,500 tourism leaders, was created to promote global tourism and friendship. With this, Panama wanted to strengthen relations with international organizations to attract international events and investments to our country – and the timing was perfect.
As of tomorrow, Monday, March 28, 2022, the requirement for mask-wearing in Panama is lifted, if people can maintain a one-meter distance between each other.
Panama is the home of COPA Airlines, a Star Alliance Airline that has been connecting North America, the Caribbean, Central, South America, and also Europe and the rest of the world. COPA made Panama an aviation hub and made Panama easily accessible to the Amerikas for business and tourism.
The strategic geographical location of this city State, home of the strategic and formerly US-controlled Panama Canal, is the ideal place not only for international meetings, but also position Panama as the central destination for the Americas and beyond. There is not only a lot of history, specifically with the United States, but there is culture, nature, food and of course beaches.
The Panama Tourism Board summarizes this potential perfectly by saying: Where Northern and Southern worlds connect, old and new worlds coexist, and cosmopolitan landscapes live in harmony with wild, untamed rainforests.
A country for those who seek beyond expectations, that dares you to see more. Taste more. Connect more. Feel more. A place for those who long more stimulation, connection, and transformation. Panama is not the destination, but the journey to discover more of what truly matters.
Make more lasting memories through an explosion of inspiration and purpose. And let the spirit of Panama unlock a sense of belonging.
Showcasing Tourism for Panama on the domestic front and for the first time, just a day before COVID-19 restrictions were lifted was an excellent opportunity for the Hon Ivan Eskildsen the country’s minister of tourism since 2019 to shine.
In January the Minister participated at FITUR Madrid and said:
2022 will make a significant difference for Panama in terms of its reactivation. In Panama, in 2020 and 2021 we were approximately 70% fewer tourists compared to 2019.
This year, with more than 85% of the population vaccinated, there is another perspective, the numbers for October and November show very interesting data compared to previous months and that is very positive. On the other hand, Panama for the first time in history is treating tourism as a state policy, where a Master Plan for Sustainable Tourism (PMTS) has been approved and we are now working on it. We are one of only three countries in the world that is carbon negative, so we can combine it with nature and cultural tourism and there we have a really interesting opportunity.
Before being appointed as the minister of tourism for Panama, Ivan was an entrepreneur with experience in the development of projects focusing on Panamanian culture and sustainability. He was also the creator and manager of enterprises that seek to awaken young people interested in Panamanian customs. Ivan specifically focuses on teamwork, inspiring leadership, and strengthening community support.
His hero’s journey had the Minister of Tourism himself complete one of Geoversity most challenging expeditions that had him sailing, paddling, mountain biking, trekking, and solo white-water rafting from the country’s southern Pacific coast to the Atlantic coast of Gunayala, an autonomous territory of the country’s indigenous Guna people
Before the age of thirty, Ivan founded and managed the Cubitá Project; a hotel, residential, and commercial real estate complex. Its design was inspired by the architecture and traditions of the Azuero region which portrays rich Panamanian history. It is the most important project in the area and has its own private museum. Ivan is the founder and leader of several organizations, chambers, and associations of private companies. An avid volunteer, he engages in regional organizations with a focus on sustainable development, community projects, and the dedicated practice of practical philosophy and history.
Minister of Tourism Iván Eskildsen participated in the inauguration of the International Tourism Expo, showcasing all the benefits that Panama offers as the Hub of the Americas, positioning it as a world-class sustainable tourist destination.
The Minister participated as a panelist in the work session on “Businesses that drive sustainable growth”, organized by Star Five and the Institute for Real Growth.
Business leaders and potential investors participated, where the tourism model of Panama was reflected, which seeks to guarantee the balance between the economic, environmental, and social aspects through sustainable tourism.
The Expo brought together more than 150 international tour operators.
The minster’s guest of Honor, SKAL’s president Burcin Turkkan was impressed attending the Expo in Panama when meeting with minster Eskildsen and said:
Very impressed potential Tourism is for Panama. The ease in connectivity from many major US gateways with non-stop flights as well as from several European countries like Spain, Turkey, France, Holland and the ease in clearing travel requirements taken care of, such as the drive-thru Covid test stations are some of the things that make Panama an attractive holiday and business destination.
The SKAL president concluded by pointing out, that SKAL is ready to do business with friends. The very active Panama SKAL club has been around since 1955, and SKAL had a major role in bringing friends together and doing business with Panama and the world.
SKAL Panama president Demetrio Maduro summarized on the SKAL Panama website: “We are part of the worldwide business network for tourism executives. Since our beginnings, we have shared forging new friendships and developing new business opportunities in the local and international tourism industry.
With the pride of being Panamanians, and representing our country, we can share experiences and opportunities in tourism businesses, without leaving behind the charm of company and friendship.