News highlights and summary (July 15, 2020):
As the pandemic drags on, we look for a light at the end of the tunnel, hoping for a return to some resemblance of normal. Looking towards the future we have compiled the most up to date news relating to the travel and tourism industry of Panama. Unfortunately, during these times much of what tomorrow holds is very much up in the air when it comes to Panama due to indecision and lack of strategic planning. Here’s the news:
Panama is returning to total quarantine for the weekends starting Friday, July 17. This means that no one will be permitted on the streets every Saturday and Sundays. This measure will coincide with a curfew order of 7pm – 5am every day. This will be in effect until further notice by the Ministry of Health - https://www.tvn-2.com/nacionales/Ministro-Sucre-endureciendo-disminuir-COVID-19-Coronavirus-en-Panama_0_5625187435.html
There was discussion within the government to go into 100% lockdown for 15 days in which no one would be permitted to leave their residences at all. This was later determined too harsh a measure and retracted from the discourse.
Tocumen international airport and government officials are evaluating the early reopening of the airport for connecting flights only. This will allow for all those employed by the airport to get back to work and for connections to restart. This measure would not permit the entry of tourists or any others into Panama. To date, without further updates, the international airport is scheduled to restart full operations as of July 23, 2020. https://www.prensa.com/sociedad/gobierno-evalua-la-reapertura-del-aeropuerto-de-tocumen-para-los-vuelos-en-transito/
As of July 5, no plan has been established for the reopening of international tourism in Panama. The Panama Tourism Authority (ATP) has delayed and presented no plan based on their dependency on other state agencies. https://www.laestrella.com.pa/economia/200507/sector-turistico-alerta-falta-plan-reactivacion-post-covid-19
As of June 17, the order for all yachts, boats, or other aquatic vessels may not depart from any private or public docks for purposes of sport fishing, tourism, or recreation maintains in effect until further notice. https://www.tvn-2.com/nacionales/Salida-quedan-supeditadas-nuevas-condiciones_0_5604189544.html
With no real end in sight to the economic effects of this pandemic, the Tourism Authority announced that it would be focusing 80% of its efforts on domestic tourism in the short term to stimulate this sector. During this period, the ATP hopes to strengthen the operators and providers within the tourism sector to better provide for international clients once the borders fully reopen. https://www.atp.gob.pa/atp-pone-en-marcha-plan-estrategico-post-covid-19/
The ATP announced that the first international tourists it will expect and plan for are from the neighboring countries of Costa Rica and Colombia but in addition to planning for Americans as well. With this statement, Panama is one of the few countries it appears to be already aiming and expecting the reentry of Americans where other countries are rejecting the US passport. https://www.atp.gob.pa/turismo-al-aire-libre-y-con-distanciamiento-social-2/
With no firm reopening plan laid out by the government, hotels and the like are in limbo as to what to expect post-covid. With over 35,000 employees in this sub-sector, many of these providers could be closing their doors for good. The hotel options and hospitality market may be looking very different post-covid with fewer options. http://www.panama24horas.com.pa/panama/apatel-solicita-fecha-para-reapertura-del-turismo-panameno/
The hotel industry is reporting $40 million in losses every month as this pandemic drags on with a lack of strategic planning from the government or protocols that the businesses will need to follow. https://www.prensa.com/impresa/economia/hoteles-reportan-perdida-de-40-millones-al-mes-por-covid/
For further news relating to the coronavirus updates, travel sector, tourism, and other topics that may affect your travel plans to Panama subscribe to the Panama Insider blog. We scour local and international news sources to compile our news update in English. Updates will be posted intermittently depending on new information.
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