Panama, a destination to invest

Posted on 2020-01-02

In the last months of 2019 Panama received multiple nominations as one of the destinations that should be known during the year that has just begun.

Places like Bocas del Toro, Pedasí, Portobelo, Casco Viejo and the interoceanic route stand out as the landmarks of the range of destinations offered by the country.

To close the circle, Panama was also recognized as one of the most attractive countries to make tourism investments during 2019, occupying the position number 19 of 55, within the list prepared by the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) or FDI Intelligence division of the British newspaper Financial Time.

The list is headed by Thailand, followed by Macao and Portugal, in third position.

Although the list shows 5 Caribbean destinations before Panama, such as the Dominican Republic, Aruba, Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica, the country is the only destination in Latin America that appears in the report prepared by the British publication.

To create a short list that classifies the 2019/20 Tourism Places of the Future, the fDi Intelligence division of the Financial Times collected data using the online specialized tools of FDI Benchmark and fDi Markets, as well as other sources. Data was collected for 51 locations.

The locations were determined using the following parameters: countries with at least 14% of GDP derived from tourism revenue; and / or countries with at least 10% of all FDI projects in the tourism group.

In Panama it is estimated that tourism and the air sector contribute about 12% of gross domestic product.

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), foreign tourists who arrived by air in Panama, and who acquired goods and service in the local economy, generated 182 thousand jobs, totaling 238 thousand jobs supported by air transport and Tourism in recent years.

Although in recent years the entry of tourists to the country has remained in red numbers due to the lack of international promotion that was recorded between 2012 and 2016, the amount of currency left by visitors in the country is one of the highest in the region with 4 thousand 605 million in 2018, while in the first 9 months of 2019 the expenditure made by tourists reached 3 thousand 596 million dollars.

New incentives

It is no secret that one of the main shortcomings of Panamanian tourism is the lack of tourist infrastructure. From the most basic as bathrooms for tourists throughout the territory, to the development of tourist products that allow visitors to take advantage of the natural attractions of the country as much as possible.

During the extraordinary sections held last December, the National Assembly extended until December 2025 the tourist incentives contemplated in Law 80 of 2012, but with the modification that these tax prerogatives will also apply to the investment of tourist products, and not only to lodging projects.

Marinas, canopy, museums, theme parks, are some of the tourist products that can benefit from the extension of incentives, as long as the investment is made outside the province of Panama.

Ernesto Orillac, elected president of the Chamber of Tourism of Panama (Camtur), commented that it is positive that the incentives, which were intended to encourage investment in infrastructure projects, also apply to the development of tourism products.

“We need to offer more activities to tourists, and we have the raw material, but we must develop products of good quality and with the conditions that guarantee good service,” said Orillac.

In addition to tax credits, investors who bet on Panamanian tourism will be entitled to non-payment of property taxes on land and improvements, as well as the entry tax for goods and equipment that are not available in the local plaza.

Source: La Prensa