Within the framework of the IMEX in Frankfurt 2023 international fair, dedicated especially to meeting tourism, Travel2latam spoke with Eugenia Powell, Director of Business Development at Promtur Panama.
How does Promtur work to attract the MICE segment?
Two years ago we have been working on the position of Panama as an ideal destination for congresses and conventions, and it is part of the sustainable tourism master plan that is the basis of all actions.
Promtur is prioritizing the meetings industry, not only because of Panama's infrastructure and air connectivity, but also because of the potential we have to offer this important segment. In this sense, in 2021 we launched the Incentive Plan that helped us attract different events and was created with the help of the private sector. With the Association of Congress and Convention Professionals we work on a technical table for the creation and attraction of congresses, and firstly if the plan was successful, the second step is to find the best allies to continue growing in the segment. This base, in addition to capturing the events, allows us to analyze which are the most attractive segments. Thus we could see that the associative is the one that generates the greatest economic and social impact.
What distinguishes the associative segment?
The associative congresses are led by international associations from different fields, for example; medical associations, related to logistics or technology. From Promtur we began to evaluate which congresses had come to Panama and the reasons why they had chosen us as a destination, there we realized that there was a differentiator compared to other countries in Latin America and the World.
Panama is seen as an ideal innovation and technology center for the implementation of new trends and aspects of science or medicine, so we saw the opportunity to later evaluate which are the most important sectors worldwide for associations. First is the medical segment; secondly, logistics, due to air connectivity and the ports that Panama has; then we saw that engineering, construction and banking centers are also very attractive. For this reason, we prioritize these sectors to find allies and strengthen the demand for congresses, and in fact, we join large world associations, which is why today Panama is competing with very high-level destinations, which also have many years investing in promotion in the meetings segment.
What is the Panama Ambassadors program about?
It is our second joint development project with the MICE Sales Committee, the Association Leaders Program but more commonly known as the Ambassadors Program, and it is where destinations can train their local leaders so that they can also attract international congresses. At the end of the day they are leaders and experts in each of those already identified fields. For example, the Association of Debate Leaders are university students and have a voice and vote in the World Association, so they help us attract international conferences related to education towards the destination. This not only helps capture the business, but goes further. These students seek to do social work in Panama and generate an exchange of knowledge between those who come from abroad,
Is this program already running?
We will officially launch this Leaders and Ambassadors Program on June 16, a few days before FIEXPO, and we will surely have the participation of the administrator of the Panama Canal who will give a few words about why Panama is so important as a association center and why this program is essential. So this is our latest initiative, something that we are carrying out with great ambition and vision, because what we want to achieve is that Panama can be recognized as a destination, not only opening the doors to our country, but to all of Latin America. Once a congress that has never been to the region arrives in Panama, they start to look around and they start to rotate in Latin America, so in that direction we go.