INCREASED airline connectivity, international fairs and social media exposure have combined to boost European tourist visits to Panama in the last year, and with Air China set to start flying to Tocumen International in March, the Tourism Authority. (ATP) is looking for a similar fillip from Asia during 2018.
Some 227,963 European travelers entered the country from January to December 2017 and visited, mainly, Bocas de Toro, Boquete, Tierras Altas, Boca Chica, Pedasí, Azuero region, the beaches of the Pacific and the Valley of Antón in Coclé.
According to figures from the Tourism Authority of Panama (ATP) , 17,070 more Europeans than the previous year arrived, an increase of 8.1%.
Direct flights to key destinations in Europe such as Spain, Germany, France, the Netherlands and charter flights from Poland continues to strengthen Panama as the Hub of the Americas.
The promotion of the country in international fairs, as well as the international promotion campaign in digital media, has been key to selling the attractions offered by Panama says the ATP.
The European airlines that increased passenger revenue in 2017 were: Iberia, with a total of 69,381 passengers, some 9,501 more than in 2016, ( a growth of 15.9%) and KLM, with a total of 55,519 passengers, 2,044 more than in 2016, (up 3.8%).
Air France follows with a total of 51,326 passengers, some 7,940 more than in 2016, an increase of 18.3%.
In the target markets, according to recent Google measurements, during 2017, Panama was one of the countries with the most views on YouTube and significantly increased searches related to trips to Panama.
Mentions of Panama increased by more than 66% in cities of the United States, Canada and Spain, between January and November of 2017. While the traffic on the page visitpanama.com was up more than 500% with 36 million views.