Our special guest in this edition is the president of the Panamanian Association of Business Executives, APEDE, who took office on August 1. He has also been president of the Panama Lions Club during the period 2006-2008, as well as a member of the Board of Directors of the International Consortium on Governmental Financial Management (ICGFM), based in Washington DC, United States.
Temistocles Rosas has worked within the governmental field, as Head of Audit Standards of the Comptroller General of the Republic, Vice Minister of Domestic Trade, Director of the European Community Cooperation Program in the Supreme Court of Justice, General Director of INADEH and Vice President of Administration and Finance of the Tocumen International Airport.
The founding partner of the Consulting Plus Firm and the Litebar Capital investment company speaks to The Visitor exclusively about the plan that seeks to implement tourism and what it takes to work as a country to move forward.
What is the current situation of the country at a social and economic level, how can we move forward?
“As a result of the effect of the COVID 19 Pandemic, Panama is still recovering economically. This process has been much slower than in other neighboring countries, but we are positive that the private sector will gradually recover, mainly due to the dynamics of the economy and the strength of the private sector. In the same way, we have to pay attention to recovering permanent jobs and returning to levels, at least, of 2019.”
How important is the tourism industry for private business?
“The tourism industry is tremendously important for Panama: it attracts foreign currency, creates employment, helps reduce poverty, permeates the entire economy, promotes social inclusion, and helps protect the country’s natural and cultural heritage. It benefits many people directly and indirectly. In addition, the tourism industry has a significant impact on other related sectors such as agriculture, local industry, food processing, construction, transportation, entertainment, and small artisan enterprises. In summary, tourism is a great generator of employment and an important engine of the national economy. So much so, that within the UN SDGs they urge governments to design and implement public policies to promote sustainable tourism and thus create more quality jobs.”
How can private companies organize themselves to create movement and force that generates faster and more assertive changes for the benefit of all in Panama?
“The government should be a facilitator of tourism investments. We depend on a climate of trust and stability in order to continue attracting investment in tourism. Panama’s potential is enormous, but it must go hand in hand with long-term country development planning. Tourism is an industry that must go hand in hand with government management. The construction of infrastructure, security, incentives and proper coordination with all government agencies is vital for tourism to take possession of the country. In Panama since 1994, we have the Tourism Incentives Law and it must be adapted to the new realities of the industry.”
From APEDE you and your team are developing a proposal focused on tourism, you can describe it, its objectives and what is required to achieve them.
“APEDE works as a think tank that is nourished by its commissions and chapters. As part of APEDE’s country vision, several points of country development are linked to tourism development. Our chapters such as Chiriqui and Cocle are actively implementing tourism development plans since they are located in highly attractive areas for visitors. From the tourism commission, the promotion and development plans that the industry needs are studied. Tourism promotion is one of the essential issues to become an attractive destination.”
Which segment of tourism do you see as having the greatest potential for development and growth in the short term and which one do you see in the long term?
“We have great hope in taking off the cruise and convention segments with the recent investments that have been inaugurated. Likewise, the development of a beach corridor and the interior of the country have a lot of potential.”
What message would you like to send to all Panamanians who have economic and social expectations for 2023, which is just around the corner?
“Our message will always be one of positivity and hope. Panama is a country with great potential and noble and hard-working people. We just need that we all be aligned and committed to the growth and development of the country, particularly in the articulation of public policies and where the government, businessmen and workers walk with the same objective in order to improve the condition of all Panamanians.”