Panamá, un pequeño gigante en pleno crecimiento

The Economic boom that has characterized Panama in the last decade is well known. Growths between 6 and 10% a year seem to persist.

Panama will be the country with the highest growth in Latin America in the coming years. The Comptroller General’s Office and the Ministry of Economy and Finance, along with prestigious consultants such as Indesa and BBVA Research coincide in their projections for 2012 and 2013. They estimate that Panama will register a growth of GDP of 6,0% in 2012 and 6,2% in 2013, sustained by domestic demand, emphasizing consumption growth, in line with the improvement in labor market conditions and the continued credit expansion.

The Panama Canal Expansion project, the construction of the Metro line and the third phase of the Coastal Strip, the road system re-organization project and the direct foreign investment are also the base of this growth, which is slowly but surely changing the face of that Isthmus of canal-centered economy, for one of a modern country. Of skyscrapers that almost reach the sky, a Hub of the Americas in the areas of aviation and logistics, and base of operations for Central America of renown multinational companies.

art pan ils3Panama city view from the Coastal Strip

Panama is today a small country in full growth. Its socio-economic condition has transformed it into an outstanding brand in the global map for those wishing to emigrate, set up their own business, establish a base of operations or just simply traveling for pleasure. Because this country doesn’t only offer a dollarized economy of equal parity, with access to products and services of excellent quality at affordable costs, but also with state of the art technology, warm and welcoming climatic conditions, favorable tax laws for investors and non-discriminatory migration laws; a non-conflictive socio-political environment and plenty of areas for tourism.

PanamaThe World Economic Forum’s Annual Competitiveness Report is also an accurate reflection of Panama’s economic, social and institutional situation. Ranking at number 23 out of a list of 144 countries, it owes its competitiveness to the development of its infrastructures, Principallyits ports, airports and telecommunications, and the financial system. Regarding the latter, a dollarized system without central bank, the supervision and the conservative policies of the banks, which maintain high liquidity, high capitalization and takes care of where it invests its resources, are key to the good performance of the banking center, which in turn entails that Panama is not affected by the international crisis.

Meanwhile, tourism, has been one of the most influential factors in the economic growth of the country, according to data from the Comptroller General of the Republic, registered an increment of 5,4% in the total number of tourists that came to Panama during the first seven months of the year. Between January and July, 1 million 236 thousand visitors entered our country, which is 63,842 more tourists if compared with the same period of time in 2011. Also, in terms of tourism expenditure, visitors in the month of July left an average of $1,315,000,000 dollars, which when compared with the numbers of 2011, reflects an increase of 221,6 millions of dollars, an assessment that does not include plane tickets.

But is Leisure tourism the only offer that Panama has? The touristic reality of Panama comes together with a diversity of positive conditions, which lead to the development of our services and market niches. The access to top grade technology, the English language proficiency of the majority of the population, the quality of our water, drinkable and absolutely safe for human consumption; its medics’ reputation, the access to medication and the affiliation of its hospitals to international health organizations such as the Baptist health international center of Miami, the Cleveland Clinic, Tulane’s Health Sciences Center, The Johns Hopkins International, The Miami children’s hospital, The Nebraska Medical Center University, Florida´s Kendall Medical Center, and the United States’ Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, among others, is turning Panama into the mecca of medical tourism.

According to National Assembly Deputy, Hugo Moreno, Panama has everything to be the hub of medical tourism in Latin America and has a great potential that allows the development and increase in economy, which in turn would generate new jobs and investments of international nature.

Medical procedures compared for their quality and performance to those made in the U.S. and Europe can cost up to 50% less in Panama, including in some cases other benefits such as transportation, accommodation and tourist guide.

Under this premise and with the objective of giving the country a chance to earn economic revenues from this activity, which in other countries reach the 50 billion dollars, since last March, a team led by the deputy of the National Assembly and President of the Health Commission of the legislative body, Hugo Moreno, is holding meetings with members of the society and public institutions related to the new concept of medical tourism, with a view to preparing a preliminary draft law.

Eric de Ycaza, president of the Panamanian Association of Medical Tourism, has said that this sector will bring great benefits to the country, since it is a highly specialized industry involving private and  public sector actors who must agree to promote themselves internationally.

The main hospitals and clinics in Panama City have reported an increase in income from foreign patients who arrive in the country to undergo surgical procedures at much more affordable costs than those offered in their respective countries. Today, at least 20% of their patients are tourists.

This is why some of these medical institutions now have administrative offices devoted exclusively to the creation of medical packages combined with tourism for those coming to Panama for medical reasons, but who at the same time want to take the opportunity to know a little bit more about our beautiful country.

Plastic, cardiovascular and orthopedic surgeries, as well as assisted reproductive processes are the most requested services by tourists who come to Panama by the hand also known as health tourism.

So why think only in Panama as a destination for shopping, beaches and surfing? Why not decide to have a medical procedure with the ability to recover in a relaxed atmosphere?

Panama waits for its visitors with open arms, confident of being able to provide what you are looking for and much more. Therefore, the decision to obtain all of this and more, is on your side.


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