This chapter includes the following articles.
Buoyed by expanded connectivity and increasing investment, Panama’s tourism sector has experienced unprecedented growth in the past few years. Today, it is a pillar of economic development, generating more revenues than transit fees from the Panama Canal ($1.92bn) or the Colón Free Trade Zone ($1.9bn). According to the Tourism Authority of Panama, visitor numbers have grown every year since 2002, save for a slight contraction of 0.8% in 2009, with total arrivals exceeding 2.3m in 2014. Sector revenues have followed a similar upward trend, growing by 7.3% in 2014 to nearly $5.5bn, up from $5bn in 2013 and a five-fold increase on the $1.1bn generated in 2005. The current’s government’s policy of diversification is set to usher in a host of new developments outside the capital likely to strengthen key tourism subsectors, in particular the ecotourism and “sun, sea and sand” segments.