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Posted by Maria Arias on March 6, 2017
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International Tourism Promotion Fund Law in Panama

The Panama National assembly has approved a measure to create an International Tourism Promotion Fund, which will provide a new foundation to market Panama around the world.

The new program will “guarantee the permanent promotion” of tourist destinations in international market and will help Panama compete with countries with similar funds, according to a statement from the Panama Tourism Authority.

Gustavo Him, Tourism Authority administrator, noted that Mexico, Colombia and other countries have successfully promoted tourism using this type of fund.

“This step we have taken will allow all our actions to be more expeditious, that tourism grows and permeates throughout the sector and that private enterprise, which continues to be the motor of tourism, has a stronger presence in all decisions,” Him said in the statement.

According to Punta Pacifica Realty, the tourism promotion has been a hotly-debated issue in Panama, with hoteliers and the industry complaining the government has not been doing enough to market the country.

There have been announcements about new campaigns, especially targeting the U.S., but the new fund should provide a steady source of funding for consistent international efforts.

The fund will be partially funded by an international passenger service fee at Tocumen Airport, which is $10 per passenger. The fund will be administered by a seven-member board of directors, including the administrator of the Tourism Authority and the president of the National Tourism Council.

Panama Chamber of Tourism president Antonio Alfaro says the move represents a “new era” for the tourism sector. “With tourism we all benefit: the artisan, the farmer, the tour guide, the indigenous communities, the country in general,” he said.

The tourism sector is optimistic that the project will become the Law of the Republic, to guarantee the permanent promotion of the country’s tourist destinations in international markets and compete in similar circumstances with countries that already have years of having this fund.