New York. Panama is looking forward to the 2015 opening of the Amador Convention Center, the largest facility of its kind in the country and one of the premier convention centers of the region.
With 570,505 square feet of meeting space and state-of-the-art facilities, the $193 million complex features a banquet hall, exhibition hall, and conference facilities, as well as a grand plaza, outdoor amphitheater, and 1,500-seat performing arts theater with balcony and box seating. The award-winning design by architecture firm RM+ LLC resembles a harpy eagle in flight, paying homage to Panama's national bird.
Located on the banks of the Panama Canal near the recently opened Biodiversity Museum (renowned architect Frank Gehry's only building in Latin America), the convention center's prime location will be directly accessible from Tocumen International Airport, one of the busiest airports in the region, offering more than 80 direct flights to the Caribbean, Central and South America and 17 to North America.
In the lead-up to the opening of Amador Convention Center, ATP is currently offering incentives to companies and organizations to host their meetings in Panama, including a welcome cocktail event and folklore show offering the best of Panamanian culture. Until the new convention center opens, Panama's current site for major events, the ATLAPA Convention Center, is free to organizers of events who meet a minimum quota of participants.
Other advantages to meeting planners include Panama's affordability and friendly economic policies, including the use of the U.S. dollar as an official currency, as well as an IRS tax exemption that allows U.S. companies to claim expenses from holding an international meeting in the country. One of the safest countries in the region, Panama also ensures the comfort and safety of all visitors by offering free medical emergency insurance for 30 days upon entry.
Already a burgeoning business destination, Panama currently features 550,000 square feet of meeting space and more than 24,000 hotel rooms from leading international brands. According to the Panama Tourism Authority (ATP), the country hosted 126 congresses and conventions in 2012, a significant increase from the 66 held in 2011.
With the opening of Amador Convention Center, along with a new partnership with Marketing Challenges International (MCIntl), the country's official North American marketing and sales office, Panama is set to become one of the leading meetings and conventions destinations in the Americas.