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More Cruise Ships Will Visit Panama

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Since Panama signed an agreement with cruise ships companies, which are members of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association in October 2000, the arrival of passengers to the Panamanian ports

of Gatun, Colon 2000, Cristobal, Balboa, Fuerte Amador and Kuna Yala has increased, which confirm the status of the country as an established tourist destination.

 

cruise-panama.jpgSo far Panama has made agreements with some 20 cruise lines, which means that at least 40 cruise ships list the country as a destination. Some of the lines that visit Panamanian waters are Carnival Corporation, Celebrity Cruises, Cunard Line Cruises and P&O Cruises.

 

The manager of Puerto Colon 2000, Augusto Terracina said that the new port infrastructures currently under construction, will be finished in December of this year and will be able to receive the Royal Caribbean cruise ship “Enchantment of the Seas” with its 1000 crew and 2,500 passengers.

 

Panama will be the port of origin for the Enchantment and will allow travelers coming from South America and Europe to cruise around the Caribbean, without having to go to a U.S. port or needing a U.S. visa.

 

Terracina said that the collaboration of Royal Caribbean and Copa airlines is vital for the success of the project.

 

Copa with the Hub of the Americas, has created a network of airline connections that allows the cruise passengers to fly directly to Panama to board the ship. It is expected that the new cruise ship program will generate at least $1.5 million per month for the country, taking into account the amount of money visitors and the crew will spend during their stay in Panama. Royal Caribbean has invested $16 million to make Panama the Home Port for “Enchantment of the Seas”, which will visit the islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao in the Caribbean. The Colon manager, explained that the Tocumen airport expansion and the new highway Panama-Colon will make it easier to transport passengers from the airport to the port.

 

CRUISE SEASONS IN PANAMA

It is estimated that the “Enchantment of the Seas” will make around 21 trips from Panama to the Caribbean during the cruise season, that starts in December and finishes in April.

 

Panama has increased its appeal as a tourist destination over the last five years. During the 2000-2001 season a total of 65 ships visited Panamanian ports with a total of 58,385 passengers disembarking and spending $5.5 million.

 

Since 2000-2007 around 1,219 ships have visited Panamanian ports carrying a total of 1,602,447 passengers generating an income of $151 million.

 

82 percent of the passengers spend $95 on average.

 

VISITORS

In the 2000-2001 season over 58,000 cruise ships travelers disembarked in Panamanian ports. The season with the most activity was 2000-2004 when 304,712 visitors came to Panama. In comparison with previous years the number of passengers have dwindled, with only 163,358.

Source: Panama Star

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