This chapter includes the following articles.
One of four key pillars of economic growth in the Strategic Economic Plan 2010-14, the tourism sector has experienced rapid development in the past decade. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, the sector contributed an estimated 13.1% to national GDP and was responsible for 12.4% of total employment. Panama City has seen a surge of international hotel chains enter the market in recent years, while the high-end beach and luxury segment is set to receive significant government investment. Moreover, Panama’s strong biodiversity lends itself to a nascent ecotourism sub-sector. Although hotels in Panama City are facing short-term pressure in the form of lower occupancy rates and reduced prices, this is expected to be temporary. Increased investment and major infrastructure projects promise to boost visitor numbers to the capital and ensure long-term growth, especially as incomes rise throughout South and Central America. This chapter features an interview with Ernesto Orillac, Deputy Minister of Tourism.