By Ian McMurtry
Copa Revives ‘Stopover in Panama’ Campaign This Month
As the travel restrictions continue to lighten in a mixed time for the world, the Panamanian flag carrier and tourism board are going ahead with launching a pre-COVID marketing strategy that centered around the nation’s unique location on the globe. Formed in 2019, the Stopover in Panama campaign promoted passengers to utilize the country’s location in the world as a chance to stop and visit at no extra charge. The program was suspended when COVID-19 brought the world to a halt in early 2020, but the nation is ready to welcome open doors to travelers to the Central American nation. The program will come back online on August 16th and has high expectations to return to 2019 levels of success.
Dennis Cary, Copa Airline’s Senior Commercial Vice President welcomed the return, saying, “the Panama Stopover program is a sign of our commitment to showcasing Panama’s unique tourist attractions and diverse cultural heritage for travelers who fly through the Tocumen International Airport. The Hub of the Americas®️offers extensive connectivity to the rest of the continent and, thanks to the effort of the authorities and the tourism sector, Panama is ready to welcome travelers interested in experiencing all the wonders the country has to offer.”
The Stopover in Panama program is similar to those found in European nations like Iceland and Portugal, which had used their location as a way to promote seeing two countries for the price of one. The country offers up to at least seven days in Panama at no additional cost and is flexible to be utilized on either the outbound or return leg of the trip. For those unsure about their experience, the StopoverInPanama.com website by PROMTUR Panama and Copa Airlines offer advice for those seeking to see the country’s nature, beaches, city, nightlife, nature and gastronomy.
The Stopover in Panama option is available to travelers from nine of Copa’s US cities and gives passengers options to destinations at over 28 different countries south of the US border. The United States origin points are the Florida cities of Tampa, Miami, Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale as well as Washington-IAD, New York-JFK, Boston Logan, Los Angeles, and Chicago O’Hare.
“Panama is a nation of extraordinary diversity and richness of nature, culture and history. This program opens up more possibilities for visitors to explore the variety of authentic experiences Panama has to offer,” said Ivan Eskildsen, Panama’s Minister of Tourism. “Breathtaking parks and trails, cultural interchange with our ethno-diverse communities, the Panama Canal, and spectacular museums are just a few of the surprises that await travelers.”
The Government of Panama is still working around COVID-19 procedures with those who are vaccinated being granted more freedoms thanks to bypassing the three-day quarantine when arriving from a high-risk location. Non-vaccinated will still be required to take the three days in a hotel and both parties must show a negative COVID-19 test at least 72 hours prior to departure.
Copa Airlines is the largest airline in the Central American nation and operates an all-Boeing fleet that stretches 81 destinations across the Americas. The airline operates mostly Boeing 737-800s, with the Boeing 737 MAX 9 also growing in numbers in the fleet in recent years. The smaller Embraer ERJ-190s did not survive the last operating year, while the Boeing 737 MAX 8 and MAX 10 will join the airline in the coming years.