During the first quarter of 2011 over half a million tourists came to Panama, a country with a population of less than 3.5 million. This is a 9.7% increase over the first quarter of the previous year; an encouraging indication that Panama’s star is still very much on the rise. And it’s not just $40-a-day travelers who are coming to the fascinating isthmus: tourism spending is up by 11.1% for a total of $488 million spent in the first quarter. By my math, that’s an average of $875 per tourist, and it’s growing.
Panama’s growth exceeds Costa Rica’s, which grew 7.8% during the same quarter; almost 2% slower than Panama. Costa Rica may have better street cred as a well-known, popular destination (I mean, who hasn’t been to Costa Rica?), but Panama is catching up! Total number of tourists in Costa Rica for the first quarter of 2011 was 685,959, while Panama had 558,000. It may not be long before the smaller, faster growing Panama surpasses Central America’s tourism giant.
Panama hopes to pass the 2 million mark this year, and it’s well on its way. Wanna make it 2 million and 1? Contact us.