ATP presents strategic plan to reactivate the tourism sector.
The administrator of the Panama Tourism Authority (ATP), Ivan Eskildsen, handed over to the authorities of the Ministry of Health (Minsa) and the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (Mici) the proposal calledIn a press release from the ATP, it is detailed that the strategy contemplates three phases: "Phase 1 proposes that in block 2, routes in protected areas, trails, mountains, beaches, as well as all the sports activities typical of these natural sites are allowed", complying with the protocols of the Minsa. Phase 2, in accordance with block 3, "proposes the reopening of airports, hotels, travel agencies and tour operators, as well as the approval of economic measures that allow the survival of tourism infrastructure; while phase 3, located in block 4, suggests allowing 60% capacity for meetings, events and congresses.
In phase 4, once the state of national emergency is lifted, the development of tourism sector activities is included without restrictions. The development of these phases, said the administrator of the ATP, is binding with the approval of the Minsa. He recalled that the tourism sector generates 40,000 direct jobs, 100,000 indirect; in addition, Panama receives $5 billion in foreign currency for tourism.
The Panamanian Association of Tourism Operators (Apotur), on the other hand, joined the clamor of other sectors of the national tourism industry: Allow the gradual return of activities that support tourism, the economy and do not compromise people's health.
It recognizes that Panamanian tourism cannot wait for the arrival of the international traveler, because the reactivation of the air borders will be slow and it is added that countries, by tradition emitters of travelers to Panama, have suffered in a particular way the effects of the pandemic as it is the case of Brazil and Argentina. Apotur is made up of 25 tour operators, employing 250 direct collaborators and impacting the employment of some 5,000 people.
This Tuesday, May 19th, they will hold a meeting with Ivan Eskildsen, administrator of the Panama Tourism Authority (ATP), to whom they will explain, among other points, the guarantees that they can offer from the association to operate with the guarantees established by the Ministry of Health (Minsa). By the way, disinfect the vehicles used in the transfer of travelers and coordinate regular programs to ensure the health of transport; equip operators with their safety implements, reduce the number of people transferred per unit and establish guidance measures for tourists to support their own safety.
The idea is to support the local traveler with this incentive and, directly, to the national tourist reactivation. Zapata recognizes that Panamanians generally travel in their own vehicles, unless the destination is Bocas del Toro, San Blas or Contadora, so the new strategy involves making a radical change and encouraging them to use the operators' services. The president of Apotur points out that there have been many conversations in the last two months but they need to be concrete to avoid uncertainty and discouragement in the industry.