Panama seeks to attract conscious travelers
The Tourism Authority of Panama and the Panamanian Foundation for Sustainable Tourism signed an Inter-Institutional Cooperation Agreement to develop community tourism experiences
The Tourism Authority of Panama (ATP) and the Panamanian Foundation for Sustainable Tourism (APTSO), signed an Inter-institutional Cooperation Agreement through which community tourism experiences will be developed that improve the well-being of residents, visitors and the environment. , celebrating the natural beauty and cultural experiences that the country offers, through the initiative of PACTO (Panama Alliance for Community Tourism).
The signing of the agreement, which was carried out in the district of La Pintada, province of Coclé, cradle of the Pinta'o Hat, declared by UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, was signed by the general administrator of the ATP, Iván Eskildsen and the president of the Panamanian Sustainable Tourism Foundation, Annie Young.
The Minister of Culture, Carlos Aguilar, also participated in the event, whose entity also supports the work of artisans from this town, as well as local authorities and artisans dedicated to making the traditional piece.
“If Panama aspires to become a world-class sustainable destination, putting local communities at the heart of the tourism phenomenon must be considered a priority, or sustainability will not be achieved,” Eskildsen said.
For this reason, “in our Master Plan we have given priority to the development of tourist experiences focused on the 'conscious traveler', a worldwide trend that demands more and more authentic experiences that benefit local communities and their environment, while integrating them in the work of conservation of natural and cultural resources, under the model of Tourism, Conservation and Research (TCI), emphasized the Minister of Tourism.
He also added that "we are excited that this pact will accelerate the implementation of this strategy, with local and global partners that will help Panama consolidate world-class community tourism experiences that show the extraordinary wealth of our natural and cultural heritage."
Among various entities that participate in the PACTO initiative, the Fundación Natura and the non-profit foundation Planeterra, a global leader in community tourism, stand out.
Annie Young, president of APTSO, said that "our priority is to impact the communities in Panama and we want to build on existing and proven solutions to have less risk and achieve the expected success."
Young added that “we will work with participating communities in all aspects of the tourism value chain, reducing their dependence on the central government and empowering rural tourism entrepreneurs and farmers with the skills and capacities they need to strengthen their businesses in community tourism, diversify and increase their capacity for recovery (physical, cultural, economic, social, environmental) ”.
“Through close collaboration, we will be able to achieve the goals of the Tourism Vision 2025 of the Sustainable Tourism Master Plan and be globally recognized as a sustainable tourism destination and support the well-being of our communities,” Young said.
The community tourism plan will support Plan Colmena, the flagship project of President Laurentino Cortizo Cohen, which seeks to reduce the inequality gap in the country. Through the Agreement, actions will be carried out in a minimum of 10 communities nationwide, to assist them in the diversification of their economies, product development, business planning and customer service.
The communities that will participate in the project will be prioritized following the scheme of the patrimonial routes of the TCI strategy, among other technical and objective criteria for the selection of the communities, which will help to maximize the effectiveness of the project.