Casco Life

Panama News: Hotel Occupation and Tourism on the Rise


When I was studying my career in tourism back in the late 90´s (incredible but true, I actually went to the university to study tourism) reported hotel occupancy in Panama was between 40 to 50% for the luckiest guys. Back then, the “big names” where Hotel El Panama and the Caesar Park which later on was converted into a Marriott and then a Caesar Park again. Reports suggested the top occupancy to be at 54%. The main tourist was the business man and most hotels marketed themselves as corporate hotels. The only true “eco” hotel was the Canopy Tower and the Gamboa Resort was trying very hard to hit the mass market with the eco concept, hardly surviving with their huge infrastructure.

The peaks of the season were the conventions made at ATLAPA. Usually Expocomer, or ExpoAnythingWeCouldGet. The normal businessman stayed 2 or maybe 3 days.

Today, ten years later, it is a very different story. Panama recovered slowly after its Noriega affair and made it to the news as a place to invest. Since then, a lot has changed, the city is booming and forgotten places like Casco Viejo are being revitalized. It is a challenge to get a room in high season, but low season is also quite busy these days. According to the new reports, hotel occupancy is at 66.5% and hotels are quickly building more rooms, which makes me think they are not really at 66.5% at all but at least around the 80%.  The Decameron group on its beach hotel claimed a year ago they were reaching the 90% occupancy (maybe more?) and by my own personal experience trying to get rooms for friends outside Casco Viejo I´m sure my guess isn´t too far off. Hotels are being marketed as lifestyle hotels with spas, casinos and a lot of other amenities. Oh, yes, they still have their business centers. Just in case!

An article came out in the Panama America today about this. They mentioned that, according to the Ministry of Tourism Bureau, the standard tourist stay is now 6 days. This means it is more of a real tourist, someone who is coming not for business (or not only for business) but to enjoy as well. According to the note (see below) there are 16,000 hotel rooms in Panama, from which at least 9,000 are in the main Panama City. Their goal is to reach 24,000 by year 2010.

If you are wondering where to stay in Casco Viejo, Panama check out my post named “Where to Stay in Casco Viejo, Panama” or check out my Complete Casco Viejo Business Directory with tips on where to go and what to do.


For those of you practicing your Spanish, here is the news published today at El Panama America:


Ocupación hotelera llega al 66,5% en el primer cuatrimestre

Algunos hoteles amplían sus instalaciones para poder recibir más visitantes


Mireya Rodriguez


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Destaque Jos� Corpas (c), se ha destacado en el Gast�n. (Foto: Miguel Cavalli / EPASA)


Visitantes pernoctan en el país más de 6 días.

Los hoteles de la ciudad de Panamá continuaron registraron una buena ocupación durante el primer cuatrimestre del año.

Durante este periodo la ocupación global fue de 66,5%, siendo 78,7% para los hoteles categoría 1, aquellos que cuentan con más de 100 habitaciones y/o servicios especiales, y 44% para los hoteles categoría 2 con menos de 100 habitaciones, según datos proporcionados por el departamento de Estadística del Instituto Panameño de Turismo.

Entre los hoteles categoría 1 se encuentran Intercontinental Miramar, Marriott Panamá, Radisson Decapolis, y el Hotel El Panamá, entre otros.

Además se registraron un total de 885 mil 733 pernoctaciones, de las cuales 597 mil 322 fueron en hoteles categoría 1 y 288 mil 411 en hoteles categoría 2.

Actualmente la oferta con la que cuenta el país ronda las 16 mil habitaciones y solo en la ciudad existen unas 9 mil 886 habitaciones incluyendo residenciales y pensiones.



notas relacionadas
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Destaque Jos� Corpas (c), se ha destacado en el Gast�n. (Foto: Miguel Cavalli / EPASA)


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–>La meta del sector hotelero para el 2010 es alcanzar las 24 mil habitaciones y generar cerca de 180 mil empleos directos.

Recientemente algunos hoteles de la ciudad decidieron aumentar sus tarifas, aduciendo incrementos en los insumos y en la tarifa eléctrica.

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