The Spanish chain Riu plans to invest nearly $67 million dollars to build a beach complex in the district of Río Hato, province of Coclé.
On October 29, the Panama Tourism Authority approved the project's entry in the tourism registry, granting the company the tax benefits established in Act 8 of 1994.
The hotel, to be named Riu Playa Blanca, will have 520 rooms, and once opened will become one of the biggest on the Pacific coast. Per the tourism legislation, the company has a six month period to begin work on the construction project.
This would be the chain's second hotel in Panama, following the 645-room Riu Plaza which opened in the capital city in 2010.
The beach strip between Punta Chame and Río Hato has been the heart of hotel investments, totaling more than $300 million.
Over the last 10 years, five resorts have been built with a total of nearly 4,000 rooms. Chains like Sheraton and Wyndham operate in the area, and in December the hotel Buenaventura will begin operations under the group JW Marriott.
Among the new projects that will break ground on the beach is the Marriott Casamar, which will cover five hectares of land in the San Carlos zone.
R&I International, with Panamanian and Spanish capital, is also developing three hotels in the area, with an investment worth $28 million dollars.