The 12 days of protests and street closures in rejection of Law 406 has cost the tourism industry $200 million, said the Panamanian Hotel Association (Apatel) on Thursday, November 2.
The statement highlighted that the losses recorded include $13 million in the hotel sector and cancellations due to visits by tourists to the country that exceed 68,000 people until next January, which includes holding of congresses and conventions, arrival of tourists, etc.
“This paralysis of the country worries the Panamanian tourism sector, mainly due to the announcement of a growing number of hotels that are being forced to suspend their operations, with direct effects on suppliers and collaborators,” said the Apatel Board of Directors.
Reservations for national holidays have been canceled by nearly 90% in the province of Chiriquí, 60% in Bocas del Toro, 90% in Santa Catalina, almost 100% in the Antón Valley, and similar percentages in the other interior tourist destinations.
In the capital city, the occupancy rate has fallen by 25% in some hotels, with cancellations lasting until January 2024, that is, well into what should be Panama's high season.
Apatel says that the viability of tourism in any country depends on social peace and Panama is no exception. The devastating figures accumulated to date demonstrate the absolute need to recover national calm in accordance with the will of the citizen majorities and the law.
Vandalism & repression
“The Panamanian Hotel Association supports the right of legitimate protesters who, with respect for the rights of others peacefully demand a better Panama. We repudiate the unjustified repression against them and the infiltration of criminals who commit acts of destruction and vandalism,” says the statement. They indicated that the urgency of the moment that Panama is experiencing makes it imperative that the National Government, including the Assembly, listen to and comply with the popular will promptly, protecting the interests of the Nation.
In synergy with other unions in the country, the Supreme Court is called upon to issue an opinion on the claims of unconstitutionality that weigh on Law 406 and without delays that could prolong the current state of national confrontation. “We call on the legislative authorities to refrain from taking actions that could hinder the delicate task in the hands of the magistrates,” Apatel concluded.