In recent times, Panamanian tourism is working not only to grow, or to generate positive indicators that allow it to boast about the success it has been obtaining. This year, the chimneyless industry seeks to consolidate ideas and concepts that change the way we see ourselves as a country, carry out projects and distribute responsibilities. And this year, the National Tourism Congress CONATUR is the platform where this new way of developing tourism throughout Panama will be consolidated. For this reason, we spoke exclusively with Ernesto Orillac, Advisor to the Board of Directors of the National Chamber of Tourism and former president of the same organization, as well as President of the Organizing Committee of CONATUR 2023. In this interview he talks about the solid foundations that this event seeks to establish for the future of tourism.
What does CONATUR seek to achieve in this 2023 edition?
“What CONATUR 2023 seeks as its main objective is the complete integration of the tourism sector at the national level, it has been an entire work process in recent years and it has finally been positioning and maturing. This year we are going to have a summit where not only the presidents of the unions at the national level will be present but also all the tourism chambers throughout the country that represent the different destinations and the one that are priorities in the Master Plan. A document will be prepared that will outline what the tourism sector needs to be able to continue positioning itself and become a world-class destination in the next five to ten years”.
Integration needs a unify criteria, and these are based on the management of information. What steps will CONATUR take?
“Within this integration we are working on very important issues for the industry and the country in the tourism sector. The first is to work on a measurement of the economic impact and the data or figures that tourism manages. This information today is not exact, because there are a series of issues that have not been worked on that are measured in a way that is probably not the best. For this reason, for this congress we have invited a series of speakers who are helping us to improve it, one of them is Jacqueline Mora, Technical Vice Minister of Tourism of the Dominican Republic, who is going to give a master conference on how to work with data, truthfully, objectively, precisely and in real time. Also, Eduardo Chaillo, Global Meetings and Tourism Specialist, will talk about the importance of measuring this data and the economic impact it has for the sector. These two points are fundamental in terms of the objectives to be achieved during CONATUR.”
What collective actions will CONATUR generate this year?
“Another important issue that will be worked on, as the CONATUR 2023 slogan says “Promoting Collective Actions Towards Responsible Tourism”, is to be able to continue working on these collective actions closely and positioning new tourism products, as we are going to do it through the 20 communities and organized groups with which we have been working throughout the country, and which are now ready to go on the market, of course, improving to achieve quality certification by everyone in the tourism sector. With this we are looking for new tourism products and a national certification that we are going to propose for the entire industry. It is another of the objectives that we want to achieve in the medium and long term.”
There is talk of diversifying tourism, which other segments are you going to focus on?
“During CONATUR we will talk about the importance of Nautical tourism, not only in the cruise segment, but also in the mega yacht sector and other vessels with products that are being created. An example is Puerto Baru, a project in Chiriqui that seeks to create a new nautical tourism “hub” beyond Panama City, specifically in Chiriqui, but also in other parts of the country such as Rio Hato and Panama Pacifico.”
Photos courtesy: CAMTUR/ CONATUR