Panama rates increasingly high on lists of must-visit destinations.
In a recent article, the New York Times put Panama first, in a list of places to go in 2012, citing as special attractions the Casco Viejo (historic Old Town), the canal, and the recently opened Biomuseum, designed by Frank Gehry.
At the same time, Panama could do more to increase tourism revenues.
There are as yet few specialty hotels, either urban or rural.
Tropical and adventure tourism are still under developed.
Investment in projects for tourists and business visitors generally has concentrated in Panama City and the Canal Zone, which means that in many areas the price of rural land is still attractive.
Finding competent staff can be an issue for tourism developers, given a Panamanian workforce, much of which is poorly educated.
While Panama has built super highways connecting major destinations, road access is poor in many rural areas.
On the other hand, the government is investing in both areas.
With the value of national production growing by an average of close to 7.5 percent during the past five years, the money is there.
- Hotels, including specialty projects
- Tour operators
- Tourism sector training programs