Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tourism: Travel restrictions will hit Panama's tourist industry

La Prensa reports that Panama's Presidential hopeful Balbina Herrera generated concern within the tourism industry recently with her proposal to require that visitors from neighboring nations obtain visas to enter Panama.

Jorge Loaiza, president of the Panamanian Association of Hotels, said the Partido Revolucionario Democrático candidate is not the first to suggest the controversial move. In the past, he said, the group has been able to present evidence that the country’s increased crime rate would not be resolved by imposing travel restrictions.

“We’ve not yet found ourselves at a critical point, but it would be prudent for the authorities to lend the necessary attention to controlling and improving the situation as soon as possible,” said Loaiza. “Now is when we have to put the pressure on the underworld, which seems to be winning the battle, although it hasn’t yet affected tourism directly.”

Herrera said she particularly would like to see visa requirements for Colombians, Venezuelans and Mexicans
Published by Mike Hitchen, Mike Hitchen Consulting
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