Panama – In a bid to recover its travel industry, the Central American country is investing in a sustainable tourism plan that it hopes will rebuild its visitor economy by 2025. To do this, newly launched local marketing agency PROMTUR, together with the government-backed Panamanian Alliance for Community Tourism, is placing Panamian communities at the heart of the country’s growth.
Part of the initiative involves sensitively positioning 10 Indigenous or Afro-Panamanian communities as tourism destinations as a way to preserve their heritage and put the spotlight on local residents. ‘We know there’s an opportunity to attract this demand, to bring in dollars to the country, but at the same time preserving our nature and our culture with involvement of local communities and helping to improve the lives and wellbeing of communities,’ says Iván Eskildsen, tourism minister for Panama.
By prioritising its residents through this strategy, Panama sets an example to international tourism boards on how to balance external consumer interest with internal development.
When designing tourism plans, create opportunities for visitors to connect with local businesses in a way that benefits residents and keeps money in the economy