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PANAMA - Tourism

Fernando Fondevila

CEO, PROMTUR

Bio

Fernando Fondevila has more than 25 years of experience in the tourism sector. Before joining PROMTUR Panama, he worked for Copa Airlines in different positions in the commercial area, his last position being regional commercial manager for North America. He has led the successful launch of more than 15 new destinations working directly with strategic partners such as various tourism authorities such as ATP, Visit USA, CPTM-Mexico, Visit Tampa and St. Petersburg, Visit Orlando, among others.

“It is fundamental that the country’s promotion management is carried out in an integral manner, covering all segments of tourism.”
PROMTUR has been successfully promoting Panama as a key tourism destination through its new brand “Panama, Vive por Más,” with a consistent marketing strategy, strategic partnerships, and international events attraction program.
How would you assess the performance of PROMTUR since you started operations in 2019?

We have come a long way in a short time and in a highly challenging context such as the pandemic. A key achievement was undoubtedly the development of the country’s new tourism brand, a fundamental milestone for the consistent positioning of the country in our key markets. Anchored on the “Live for more” concept, the new brand connects Panama and its tourism offerings with a market of more than 500 million people. We are becoming more visible every day thanks to the development of our tourism brand—Panama, Vive por Más—which allows us to connect with travelers, showcasing the country as a stimulating and authentic destination. We continue to attract the attention of global media outlets such as Conde Nast Traveller, Forbes, Travel & Leisure, Smithsonian Magazine, Skift, CNN Brazil and Travel Leader Network. Panama has received nominations for global industry awards, one of which is the recent nomination as “Most Desired Emerging Destination” at the Wanderlust Travel Awards, given to the top stars of the global travel industry.

What initiatives is PROMTUR launching to promote Panama as a key tourism destination?

As a DMO, we promote Panama as a tourist destination in an agile, continuous, and consistent manner, based on our brand platform Panama Vive por Más, as well as the data analysis we collect through our Business Intelligence Management. From our marketing area we work with an “Always on” format that allows us to have a constant international promotion of the destination. These efforts are enhanced through strategic alliances with airlines, online travel agencies and global tour operators. These negotiations allow us to collaborate with international industry leaders to promote and market our destination, communicating a shared value proposition that strengthens us mutually. For us, it is fundamental that the country’s promotion management is carried out in an integral manner, covering all segments of tourism. That is why another pillar of our strategy has been our incentive plan and international events attraction program. Through these initiatives we have managed to confirm 83 confirmed international events for Panama from 2021 to 2024. The meetings industry generates a dynamic of great value for our industry and the country, as it has a high economic spillover that permeates the entire value chain of services, with an impact three times greater than that generated by the average daily expenditure of vacation tourists.

In which areas of Panama do you see more potential regarding tourism, and in what international countries are you promoting Panama as a destination?

The beauty of Panama is that it always has more to offer the traveler because of the abundance that results from the convergence of both its natural and cultural riches. It implies the notion that, even though you thought you knew everything about Panama, there is always more to see, more to do and more to experience. There is a world of possibilities awaiting travelers at every turn, multiple facets of Panama that are authentic and equally representative of the country, yet completely different and unexpected. In Panama you can find in one destination modernity and an active cosmopolitan life, but also ancient cultures with a rich tradition. We are home to countless species, lush jungles, more than three thousand kilometers of paradisiacal beaches and more than 1,500 islands. It is a hub of biodiversity and exceptional culture, which is beautifully reflected in the three heritages that make up our tourism offer: the Green Heritage, made up of our biodiversity and unique nature, the Blue Heritage, two oceans, marine life and paradisiacal beaches, and the Cultural Heritage, nourished by our melting pot of races, culture and history. International promotion and marketing actions are focused on the markets defined in the ATP’s Sustainable Tourism Master Plan, namely the US, Brazil, Spain, France, Germany, Colombia, Argentina, Canada, and Costa Rica, markets with the greatest potential for tourism growth in our country.

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