Weekly Offshore Panama News – Dec. 27, 2013

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Welcome to the Panama Weekly Offshore Roundup! We’re almost in 2014 and it’s been a fantastic Christmas period for Panama, with the Republic bracing itself for the 100th year of the Panama Canal’s existence. With the new year in mind, we look to what happened last week and digest only the best and biggest headlines related to Panama for you.

This week we cover: Panama’s Economic Outlook for 2014, Panama as the world’s second most important tourism destination of 2014, subway contractors looking to beat the clock in Panama City, and beach towns on the Pacific coast of Panama experiencing a boom time!

Welcome to 2014!

Panama 2nd Most Desired Destination in 2014

As another huge year for Panamanian tourism comes to an end, it seems like the hot streak of banner years for visitors to the republic hasn’t come to an end just yet. 2014 sees Panama reassert itself in the Top 10 world destinations for visitors and luxury travel, as further improvements in services and investment help the country strengthen and diversify its portfolio for travelers and curious investors.

“The Panama Canal’s 100-year anniversary arguably is not, in and of itself, a top five reason for visiting the country in 2014. But the events surrounding the big day and Panama’s other attractions certainly are.

“August 2014 marks 100 years since the completion of the Panama Canal, and that’s likely to attract more attention to the destination,” says Mary Moses, general manager at PEAK South America. “However, Panama has a lot more to offer travelers than just the canal — volcanoes, rainforests, coffee plantations and beautiful beaches on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.””

Source: CNN


Panama’s Economic Outlook for 2014

We put together an article on our blog, detailing Panama’s rise through the ranks in 2013 and what investors and visitors can expect of the increasingly resilient and dynamic Panamanian economy in 2014.

“Panama is rightfully the economic rising start of Latin America, and 2014 is expected to continue the trend. With economic growth in 2013 estimated at 9%, 2014 should see a very similar growth rate, with a potential of an increased rate. While the global economy is slowly working itself out of a economic meltdown, parts of the E.U. remain troublesome, and the U.S. economy is looking to regain its strength with increased job growth, increased income gains, and resurgence of the real estate market.

Outsourcing, telecommuting, and increased access to information are all leveling the playing field for once isolated nations, and economies are becoming more reliant on the global market than ever before. But when the U.S. credit crisis and real estate market collapse sent ripples throughout the world, Panama held strong. While the past 6 years have shown a shaky economic recovery across the board, Panama continued to post positive growth rates.”

Read more about Panama’s economic outlook


Subway Contractors Fighting The Clock with Panama Metro

Construction of Panama’s Metro subway system is battling on for an early completion date of February, as contractors struggle to make the pre-agreed dates. With the majority of the line complete, it is the finishing touches and stations themselves which are seen as slowing down the launch date. President Martinelli is obviously anxious to have this project completed during his term in office, with the elections fast approaching in early 2014.

“While the secretary of Panama Metro, Roberto Roy, said the overall progress of the project is 95% complete with the contract due to expire on February 28, some sections of the project are as little as 55% ready, and one station has an undetermined completion date.

There are 12 Metro stations (six underground and six elevated ) in the $1.8 billion project. A tour of the stations by La Prensa, found officials reporting that the most complex works are already complet and they are dedicated to putting the finishing touches. For example, in the underground station Cinco de Mayo, 5 , the work is focused on enabling the three small buildings housing elevators, air conditioning and escalators.”

Source: Newsroom Panama


Panama’s New Airport Expected to Spur Home Sales

Rio Hato International Airport is expected to accelerate the property boom in Panama’s Pacific beach town communities in 2014, with the new direct transport link generating intense interest abroad. Many Venezuelan and Colombian investors are already becoming a part of this boom, with North American investors seeking to move into an increasingly affluent and developed area. This is one to watch over the next 2/3 years.

“The stretch between Farallón and the resort town Coronado to the east, which runs almost 20 miles, is already popular with second-home buyers from North America, Venezuela and Colombia. With the Pan-American Highway, which opened in the late 1990s and has four lanes, beaches in the area are only about a two-hour drive west of Panama City, depending on traffic on the Bridge of the Americas across the Panama Canal.

But travelers must now land at Tocumen International Airport, a few miles east of Panama City, and drive through the congested capital to reach the beach resorts. The new airport, Scarlett Martínez International Airport at Río Hato, will allow them to avoid that traffic.”

Source: New York Times


Panama Airline Increases Number of Destinations and Flights to United States

A decade of growth in tourism has seen increasing confidence in the aviation industry, with Panama seen as the hub for flights between North, Central, and South America. This privileged position has led to an increase in flights and destinations for Copa Airlines, with the United States seen as a prime territory for expansion. With the huge number of investors and tourists (2.2 million of whom visited in 2012) flocking to Panama’s shores, it remains to be seen if Panama is at the limit of its expansion and influence abroad – we believe even bigger things lie in store for the isthmus.

“Copa CEO Pedro Heilbron announced during the Competitiveness Forum of the Americas held in Panama that the new destinations slated for the airline are Boston and Tampa in the United States. He noted that the countries in the region should up their investment in airport infrastructure. In his presentation he cited that one in every three planes in Latin America takes off from what are considered very congested airports.

Heilbron added that Panama has not suffered from the same problems of infrastructure and congestion as other airports, and “thanks to that Copa has been able to grow and place Panama at the forefront of the aeronautic movement,” which in his view has positively impacted the country’s economic and tourism development and the arrival of multinational companies.”

Source: Panama Tourism Board


Free Downloadable Ebook – Panama Business Handbook

Put together by our legal team at POLS, the Panama Business Handbook is part of a series of ebooks written on topics relevant to our readers. We are aiming to provide expats and investors with the information they need, for free! Our main focus this week is successfully starting, owning and running a business in Panama – especially if you’re new to the way of doing business here.

They include such titles as –

We have packed each ebook with detail, providing you with the introductory legal assistance you need for potentially making the decision to make Panama your base of operations. Follow the links above to download your ebooks now!

About Manoj Chatlani

Manoj Chatlani is a Senior Partner at POLS Attorneys, a full-service law firm in Panama City, Panama. Specializing in offshore services, including asset protection, estate planning, offshore banking, and offshore corporations, as well as Panama immigration and real estate transactions, POLS Attorneys offers clients a streamlined solution to all their Panama legal needs. Manoj is a Panamanian lawyer and holds a law degree from USMA and earned a Masters in Communication Law and Panama Tax law.

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