An article in La Prensa today quotes port authority excuses for declining numbers in cruise ships. There are a number of reason for the decline none of which are mentioned in the article but are obvious to any in the industry. You can read a well written piece about the cruise industry difficulties with Panama on Richard Dietrich's blog. But, what I find so telling is the mentality of the authorities and operators that people are coming to panama to visit the city. Here is a quote.
"Bonilla noted that one of Panama's weaknesses is the relatively few tourist attractions in Colón in comparison to the city of Panama. “Ideally, the terminal would be closer to the city of Panama, so that tourists would prolong their stay, generating more revenue for the country.” Another problem might be the distance between the airport and the port, Bonilla said. But Terracina commented that with the expansion of the Corredor Norte and the road between Panama and Colón, the trip between Tocumen International Airport and Colón will take only 45 minutes."
For some unknown reason Panamanians believe that foreigners want to come and visit the city which is shown time and again to be untrue. They want to see the countryside, the old forts and the indigenous peoples. Certainly the Panama Canal is an attraction, but it does not take a day or two to get your fill of the big ditch.
The number of tourists who arrived at Colón 2000 in April 2008 fell 46.7% compared to April 2007.
The total number of cruise ship visitors for 2008 is expected to exceed last year's figures.
|Slight drop:Because of a decrease in the number of cruise ship passengers who visited Panama last April, the total number of tourists visiting the country that month fell 0.1 percent, according to an official tourism report.1047549|
The Panamanian tourism authority is pinning its hopes on the arrival of two major cruise ships at the port of Colón 2000 in October and December of this year.
That's because the number of tourists who arrived in Panama by sea so far this year as compared to the same period last year has declined nearly 12 percent. And just last April, according to the Instituto Panameño de Turismo (Ipat), the total number of tourists who came to the country on cruise ships swooned 42.7 percent in April 2008 with respect to April 2007.
In April 2008, the number of tourists who arrived at the port of Colón 2000 alone, which is the principal point of entry for cruise ships visiting Panama, fell 46.92 percent, from 39,000 in April 2007 to 20,700 this year , according to a Colón 2000 report. The total number of tourists that Colón 2000 has taken in all this year has fallen 11.78 percent.
Sources at Ipat say that various cruise ships cancelled their visits because of bad weather.