Panama recently announced that business-related events, including seminars, training, conferences, forums, congresses, conventions, and exhibitions, have reopened at 25% capacity with strict health and safety protocols in place.
After reopening its borders to international travelers in October 2020, Panama continues to position itself as a premier destination for meetings and conventions, offering a wide range of top-of-the-line hotels and venues that meeting planners can choose from for their next event.
Additionally, the highly anticipated Panama Convention Center, situated in Panama City’s Amador Causeway, is set to make its grand opening in August 2021. Located right on the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal, the convention center will soon be the largest in the region with an occupancy of up to 23,000 guests, attracting both small and large business meetings where social distancing is required.
Whether hosting a company meeting at one of the many well-known hotel brands in the area or exhibiting at a local convention center, the Central American country provides a business trip experience unlike any other. Panama is easily accessible via direct flights from major international airports in the U.S., Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Its capital, Panama City, is the only national capital that contains a tropical rainforest within its city limits. Visitors can conduct business in a thriving cosmopolitan city with easy access to experience Panama’s prominent cultural and natural sites, such as hiking and world-class birdwatching at nearby national parks, visiting local beaches, exploring the famous Panama Canal, and indulging in its amazing gastronomy that made it UNESCO Creative City in Gastronomy.
Additional incentives to hosting or participating in an event in Panama include:
- Various benefits for participating groups: The country offers incentives for participating Associative, Corporate, and Incentive Groups, which may include discounts on airline tickets for VIPs, airport and hotel transfers, promotional material, support from the country’s destination marketing organization (DMO) in promoting the event, and more.
- Safe Travel recognition: In June 2020, Panama was one of the first countries to obtain a Safe Travel Stamp by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), based on the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for effective global recovery protocols.
- Panama’s implementation of the IATA Travel Pass:Panama will become one of the first countries in the region to accept the IATA Travel Pass as a digital travel credential for passengers to store their COVID-19 test result which is required for entry into the country in upcoming months.
- The country is open for business: While health and safety protocols, including the mandatory use of face masks, are still strongly enforced throughout the country, most restaurants, bars, shopping malls, and attractions are open for visitors.
Hosting or participating in an event in the country supports Panama’s Master Plan for Sustainable Tourism, recently recognized by UNESCO as an example of innovation and sustainability, highlighting Panama’s unique tourism routes. The plan reactivates Panama’s Tourism, Conservation and Research (TCI) strategy, and focuses on three core areas: Cultural Heritage (multifaceted culture), Green Heritage (extraordinary biodiversity), and Blue Heritage (ocean wonders). Business travelers can experience the heritage routes through the following activities:
- The Cultural Heritage routes narrate the history of Panama as the Bridge of the World, connecting world-class attractions such as Casco Antiguo (UNESCO World Heritage) and the world-famous Panama Canal, as well as experiences among Panama’s three main cultures: its seven indigenous communities, Afro-Panamanian, and Spanish colonial culture.
- The Green Heritage routes take visitors across National Parks, protected areas, and private reserves in Panama’s neotropical rainforest. These routes include experiences through the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute’s visitor centers, one of which is the Barro Colorado Nature Monument in the Panama Canal watershed, the most intensively studied tropical rainforest in the world.
- The Blue Heritage routes include experiences offered across various ecosystems, including whale watching surrounding Coiba National Park (UNESCO World Heritage Site), admiring turtle conservation projects in the Pacific Ocean, as well as exploring the Caribbean turquoise waters of Bocas del Toro.