The destination marketing as a tool to position Panama among the main destinations in Latin America and the region, could become one of the pillars of the Panamanian economy. This was the conclusion by the virtual conference “The Role of the DMO as a development platform social and economic for Panama ”, which was organized by Promtur Panama and in which two of the main international experts in tourism promotion and economy participated.
During his presentation, Adam Sacks, founder and president of Tourism Economics, presented cases from destinations such as Mexico, Bermuda, Colorado or Michigan, in the United States.
According to Sacks, it is essential for a destination to have a robust, continuous and stable destination marketing strategy because it is an instrument that influences the perceptions of tourists when choosing a destination, as well as investors.
In the case of Michigan, for every dollar invested in promoting tourism, about $ 5 in taxes are collected, while in Colorado for every dollar invested in destination marketing, the tourist spends about $ 140. This is the potential return on tourism investment for Panama, Sacks explained.
By building the economy of the traveler, the economy of the country is also built, was one of the conclusions of the forum, since the reasons that make it an attractive destination for tourists are the same ones that influence the investor.
In Panama, Promtur Panama is the destination marketing organization (DMO) whose main function is the promotion and international marketing of the country as a destination for all segments and tourism products.
Fernando Duque, president of the organization’s Board of Directors, expressed that “although the tourism promotion campaigns stopped due to COVID-19, we are making the most of this opportunity together with the Panama Tourism Authority (ATP) to strengthen alliances with private companies, tourism associations and local and international providers with the aim of strengthening strategies towards the recovery of tourism ”.
According to Don Welsh, President and CEO of Destinations International, strategic alignment with key audiences such as local authorities, the community and actors in the tourism industry must remain a priority for DMOs to achieve their goals.
Welsh explained that generating collaboration spaces with key actors and interest groups is one of the alternatives to achieve the success of the destination.
For this, he stressed that it is important that the autonomy of the DMOs prevail so that the projects are sustainable in the long term and that the best professionals with a track record are chosen to lead the organization, using the case of the city of Toronto in Canada , which recently incorporated as president and CEO of its DMO the American Scott Beck, who held the same role for 14 years in the city of Salt Lake City, Utah, and in just 90 days of his incorporation, results are already being perceived.
Both panelists agreed that it is a key moment to change the history of tourism in Panama.
They believe that a good destination marketing strategy will result in a significant impact for the economy, since it not only permeates the transport networks, but also improves the quality of life of the population, increases the profile of the destination for its investments and attracts strategic events such as conventions and conferences, activities that by nature allow predicting socioeconomic impacts by the number of visitors and hotel reservations.