Panama City, Panama Meeting Planning Overview
The business hub of Central America, Panama City sits on the eastern side of the Panama Canal. The canal is the dominating factor, the city and country's largest moneymaker. A long line of huge ships can be seen in the Pacific Ocean waiting for their signal to start moving along the impressive waterway.
With its modern infrastructure, easy air access, and a wealth of cultural and natural attractions, Panama has long been a best-kept secret among meetings and incentive planners. The country currently features 550,000 square feet of meeting space and more than 20,000 hotel rooms from leading international brands, including Hilton, Marriott, Sheraton, Westin, Wyndham, and more. Panama City's Tocumen International Airport is one of the region's busiest, offering more than 80 direct flights, including those to the Caribbean and Central and South America and 17 to North America, as well as direct flights from Europe daily.
Friendly economic and tourism policies also make Panama a highly attractive, affordable option, particularly for U.S. meeting planners. It is the world's second-largest free trade zone, the U.S. dollar is the official currency, and it also is part of the IRS tax exemption that allows U.S. companies to deduct business expenses for meetings held in the country.
This best-kept secret may not hold much longer, however — in 2019, the new Panama Convention Center in the capital city will open, adding an additional 570,505 square feet of meeting space. With a total investment of $193 million, this magnificent new convention center will also feature an auditorium and outdoor amphitheater in state-of-the-art facilities overlooking the iconic Panama Canal.