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PANAMA - Tourism

Denise Guillén Zúñiga

General Administrator, ATP

Bio

Denise Guillén Zúñiga is the General Administrator of ATP and a lawyer with expertise in financial matters and tourism planning. She has played a crucial role in shaping Panama’s tourism landscape, including the Coastal Tourism Master Development Plan and the Tourism, Conservation, and Research Plan. With experience in both the public and private sectors, she has led investments, attracted cruise lines, and provided consulting services to the tourism industry. In 2019, she became the Deputy General Administrator of ATP, contributing to the Sustainable Tourism Master Plan’s update and important nautical tourism regulations.

"The Panama Canal is undoubtedly our most recognized attraction; it is also the reason for our incredible biodiversity, flora, and fauna."
ATP is actively working on its 2025 vision to transform Panama into a sustainable destination by collaborating with institutions and NGOs and promoting responsible tourism that positively impacts local communities.
What are Panama’s tourist attractions?

The Panama Canal is undoubtedly our most recognized attraction; it is also the reason for our incredible biodiversity, flora, and fauna. Panama emerged from the ocean 60 million years ago, divided the continent, and created two seas. This reflects Panama’s natural history of being a land of rich cultural and natural heritage, with something to offer every type of traveler. Whether one is interested in exploring ancient ruins, hiking through lush rainforests, or simply relaxing on a beautiful beach, they can find it here. Panama is a biodiversity hotspot, with over 10,000 species of plants and animals and some of the most popular natural attractions, such as Coiba National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to one of the largest coral reef formations in the eastern Pacific; the Soberanía National Park, home to a variety of wildlife, including monkeys, sloths, and toucans; and the Boquete Highlands, a coffee-growing region with stunning mountain scenery. Panama has more tourist attractions than anyone can imagine, and there is always more to explore and more to discover. That is why our brand is, “Panama, live for more!”

How is ATP working on the 2025 vision to turn Panama into a sustainable destination?

The country designated our Master Plan for Sustainable Tourism as public policy and created a Tourism Cabinet, comprised of various state institutions, because it is an important factor for every sector of the nation’s economy. Our sustainable tourism plan is based on the concept of tourism-conservation-research. Our plan works with institutions and NGOs, and the goal is to focus on sustainability and good practices across every area in every sector. All of Panama’s strategies are directed at the conscientious tourist who wants to learn and transform their life by traveling, as well as have a positive impact on the local communities that they visit. In a small territory, we have thousands of species of birds, coral reefs, trees, and rich traditions that keep our cultural heritage alive. We can offer a transformation that makes people see life more naturally. We are surrounded by national parks, islands, and more than 3,000km of coastlines. And there is significant room to continue growing sustainably.

Which destinations in Panama is ATP promoting?

Panama has more than 26 tourist destination zones, with our current plan focusing mainly on eight of these for specific sustainable development programs. The range of our tourism offer includes adventure, wellness, nautical tourism, ecological and eco-luxury experiences, as well as academic tourism. The eight main destinations we are working with directly allow us to cover practically all the tourism products and experiences that the country has to offer. On the Caribbean, we have destinations such as Boca Del Toro, where many people who travel to Costa Rica visit in their itineraries. We also have an interesting eco-luxury segment with a group of important developments that allow us to commercialize that area. In the mountains we also have communities as part of our coffee-producing circuits given that Panama produces the best and the most valued coffee in the world market; the Gulf of Chiriquí is a complementary destination to this area. In the center, there’s Santa Catalina, the entrance to the Coiba National Park, a natural marine reserve, that is also one of our best, most biodiverse ecotourism and scientific research destinations. The Pacific Riviera has 4,000 hotel rooms in front of the ocean, an international airport, a mountain, and Anton Valley, with a beautiful, inactive volcano. We are improving hiking trails so visitors can explore the valley in better conditions and enjoy the amazing views as well. Then, moving toward the capital city, we have the small island of Taboga that offers almost 14 hotels along the beachfront. There are an infinite number of sites and wonderful locations to enjoy all throughout our isthmus and surrounding islands.

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