Direct flights to David in negotiation

The Panama Tourism Authority (ATP) is negotiating with some international operators the possibility of scheduling two direct flights a week from the U.S. to the city of David, to further boost the promotion of tourist destinations in the province of Chiriquí.

In a recent visit to this city, ATP manager Salomón Shamah underscored the Government's interest in taking advantage of the recently remodeled Enrique Malek airport to receive direct flights to David, and then use it as a regional hub for local flights. According to the official, Chiriquí has much tourist potential; however, the 10% increase in visits to the highlands has not been in the case in the rest of the province, where growth barely reached 4% to 5% in 2012.

“The number of existing hotel infrastructure requires a larger promotional effort in order to attract more tourists,” insisted Shamah. Therefore, he said that the Chambers of Commerce and Tourism in Chiriquí are working on a joint project to install an office in the capital city that would promote the Chiriquí attractions in Costa Rica and facilitate bringing in many more tourists by air and ground transportation.

As for Paso Canoas, he stressed the urgency of resolving the problems that prevent more people from crossing the border, such as the lack of a direct flight, the inefficient service provided by the Migration, Customs and Border Service officials, the unhygienic conditions in the area and, above all, the situation with passports and a need for enforced security along the whole stretch of the international border.

An inventory of lodging in Chiriquí registers 2,500 beds, including all types of accommodations. During the peak season, it is estimated that occupancy levels can range from 50% to 60%. From November to now, hotels have been at their fullest.