Can Tourism Replace Mining in Panama?

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By LatAm Reports Editor

The president of the Panama Chamber of Tourism, Ovidio Díaz, acknowledged that much work is needed so that the tourism sector can absorb the jobs generated by Minera Panama.

According to Diaz, the first thing needed is the commitment of the central government

“Public investment is required. You can’t promote that industry, which we’re thinking it’s replacing mines, when on the beaches there’s no basic services to serve the tourist,” Diaz said.

The manager also specified that it is important that the streets always remain open because otherwise the image of the country is affected.

For Díaz, the culmination of the ports is a key issue, especially because it has already been proven to generate a great occupancy of rooms.

It also considers it a priority to reform the organic law of the Panamanian Tourism Authority, trying to look for the best. In this regard, he mentioned the option of taking the model from other countries and “tropicalizing” Panama.

“In tourism we have to find a way for the next government to put real interest on this industry, which will almost immediately bear fruit. Tourism generates benefits immediately,” he added.

According to Diaz, the House is working on a proposal, which they will share in one of the debates with the different presidential candidates.

This project, in Díaz’s words, will be “quite chewed” to see that with public investment you can no longer generate 10 billion in tourism, but double them.

Díaz states that one of the goals for 2024 should be to attract at least half a million or a million more tourists, which would allow Costa Rica to be matched.

With regard to infrastructure, the manager mentioned that there are airports of international stature such as David and Río Hato.

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Although he acknowledged that there are challenges for new airlines to arrive and offer more routes to these destinations.

Minera Panama last week carried out the liquidation process of 4,000 workers, although it reported that it will maintain part of its staff to support maintenance work.

The leader of Technology Infrastructure of First Quantum Minerals LTD, for the Copper Panama project, Mario Romera, questioned the indifference and lack of general empathy in the face of the situation faced by thousands of workers of the company, who are now facing a process of closure.

The MICI, meanwhile, stressed that mine closure plans with these characteristics take approximately 2 years to be prepared and up to 10 years or more for their implementation.

Minister Jorge Rivera Staff highlighted that Panama will be the first case in the world where an immediate closure of mine operations, especially of this magnitude, has to be carried out.

This article has been translated from the original which first appeared in Panamerica