Tourism develops and grows if the components of the economy are competitive, and if growth improves the quality of life of all layers of society. This is the primary reason for this Special Report focused on the central region of the country, primarily in the Azuero sector. On this occasion, the most qualified organization to share what is being worked on this issue is the Central Region Competitiveness Center (CECOMCE). This center is an APEDE Nacional initiative with the objective of expanding the scope that the Competitiveness Center of the Western Region had achieved. CECOMCE is currently led by its President Fulvia Vargas, and with the support of Pedro Collins who is President of the Herrera Chamber of Tourism, answer questions from The Visitor- El Visitante about the work they have been doing, the projects and how they promote tourism in the central region of the country.
How is the organization managing to unite businessmen from different economic sectors in the region?
“Being a non-profit organization, made up of different organizations, it facilitates access to a large part of the people, companies, and other organizations that work in the community within our region, thus achieving direct contact in a way efficient”.
How has the work of CECOMCE had a positive impact on the daily life of the citizens of this region?
“We believe that management as a facilitator between the community, the private sector and the public sector is our best reference for the people who converge in the Central Region, every time that actions, pending actions, proposals and projects that for various reasons are sometimes dilated.”
How important is the tourism sector in the organization and how has it been supporting its development?
“For the Central Region Competitiveness Center, Tourism together with the agricultural sector are the fundamental pillars of development of our central region, since we have incalculable value in attractions such as culture, tradition, beaches, mountains, which allow in minimum times, be traveled or visited by any national or international tourist, managing to have totally different experiences, even in one day”.
How much has the competitiveness of tourism companies in the region improved and what do we need?
“The competitiveness not only of tourism companies, but also of the communities in the sector, has been strengthened. Starting with the very need to reinvent ourselves and perceive that we are a service destination, with multiple attractions that require continuous improvement to achieve positive experiences for our visitors. Definitely, factors such as adequate infrastructure, roads in good condition, signaling and, above all, joint security plans, are some of the factors that we must improve. We bet that with the approach proposed in the tourism master plan and the implementation of the development of the proposals for destinations with a tourist vocation managed through the IDB and by the national government, actions that benefit not only the final destination will be possible, but that there is spillage in the communities around these destinations”.
What projects or plans do you have for the future where tourism is involved?
“We are working on strengthening the cooperative movement of the protagonist in the tourism sector in the Central Region, so we have an Inter-institutional Tourism Commission, which has as participants the Chamber of Tourism, Tourism Cooperatives and other actors in the sector, we are part of the Destination Management Committee of Pedasi, Santa Catalina, La Riviera Pacifica and El Valle de Anton, where in the latter we have recently started a consultancy led by ATP, in order to develop a Governance system in the recently inaugurated La Caldera Route, which will serve as a pilot plan for the trails that are developed within the 1000 kilometers trails project, so we are also managing the activation of the plan for the development of the Folklore Route, promoted together with the National Chamber of Tourism of Panama, the Herrera Chamber of Tourism and other protagonists in the sector, as well as the activation of the Azuero Convention Center”.