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Panama has some of the world’s most beautiful and biodiverse rainforests. As one indicator of biodiversity, Panama has over 950 species of birds, more than the U.S. and Canada combined. Furthermore, all this great nature is very accessible, with some of the best locations just 30 minutes from Panama City. With two coasts, countless islands and pristine beaches, it offers full-service resorts with experience in handling large meeting and incentive groups.
No trip to Panama can be complete without visiting the early settlement fortresses and churches established at the beginning of the 16th century: Portobelo, Fort San Lorenzo and the magnificently preserved ruins of Panama Viejo. And, of course, there is the Panama Canal, a marvel of engineering set amidst a spectacular rainforest environment. Panama also offers beautiful mountain sanctuaries, historical sites, impressive diving and snorkeling and unique Indian cultures living in the jungle with their culture and rituals still intact.
Panama is now ready to meet and exceed the expectations of corporate business and meeting planners from the planning through the execution and even beyond.
Malek ALMAINI was born in Panama City, Panama. He has a technical degree in Tourism and he is a certified guide in the Republic of Panama.
Malek started his carrier in the tourism industry as a tour guide. His dedication, knowledge, and experience in tourism have allowed him to grow professionally in different areas of the industry.
He is currently the Destination Manager in IVI DMC Panama and continuously eager to learn new things, staying up-to-date with new developments in the M&E sector. Malek is a bicycle rider and a proud father of Omar, a 7-year-old boy who loves baseball. His wife is a flag football coach for a local women league and they all share a common love for sports.
Local Attraction: The Panama Canal. He enjoys riding his bicycle to the entrance of the Canal, at the causeway in Amador, to watch the big ships cross the channel.
Recreational Activity: Traveling with the family to the countryside of Panama, camping in the mountains or the beach, or go visit an island.
Restaurant: The Fish Market Panama and Gauchos Panama; he likes Caribbean food and a good stake.
Local Event: Local carnivals, the Panama Jazz Festival, and the ocean to ocean bicycle ride event.
The old adage that says “good things come in small packages” is true of Panama; it is a small country, about the size of South Carolina, and yet it has a vast array of world-class attractions such as: exotic tropical rainforests, beautiful mountain ranges, two coastlines (Caribbean and Pacific) more than a 1,000 islands, seven intact indigenous cultures, a Miami-style sophisticated capital city, a vibrant nightlife, full service resorts, exotic off-the-beaten-path getaways, scads of Spanish colonial historical sites, world class golfing, diving, sport fishing, and surfing. Included in this list too is the 8th Wonder of the World and engineering marvel: the Panama Canal. It is hard to think of any other destination in the world that has such great merits.
Panama features a connectivity characterized by world-class multimodal logistics. For instance, the Tocumen International Airport recent expansion and Copa Airlines' new routes have made Panama even more appealing to the M&E sector worldwide. Panama's main international airport, Tocumen, is considered the "Hub of the Americas", and it is located right in the middle of the continent which makes it for an easy trip from wherever your departure city is. This airport features flights to the most important cities in the continent and direct flights to over 16 cities in the USA, 3 in Canada, 5 major airports in Europe, and coming soon, the longest flight in the world with a Dubai-Panama City direct flight. Major airlines fly into this destination with assorted miles saving programs, so you can choose your favorite, or an alliance of them.
There is also a push to boost cruise ship tourism in Panama city with the aim of becoming one of the biggest cruise home ports in the region. It is expected that all these initiatives and improvements will double the number of visitors from 8 million passengers per year to 16 million.
In today's economy, people are looking for tourism bargains. Normally, the kind of pristine natural beauty Panama offers would have a hefty price tag on it. However, because Panama wants to make its wonders easily available, its prices are very competitive. In Panama City, taxis and meals and hotel prices in all categories are particularly pleasing. In fact, The Economist magazine just published a study that found Panama City to be one of the ten least expensive cities in the world! And even though it is economical, when you visit you will find that Panamanians are not cheap when it comes to doing things right.
When you get here you will realize that Panamanians are some of the friendliest people in the world and that most of them are bilingual. Panama has historically been an international crossroads, so our folks understand and appreciate other nationalities and are ready to help them. Another perk is the fact the country embraced the U.S. dollar as its main currency, so you won't have to be a mathematical genius to figure out how to go about converting currency at all.
From spacious convention centers to unique meeting venues, Panama City has the perfect space for your next conference or event. The offer of great options for convention centers in Panama City is vast, and not only that, with the opening of prestigious hotels, there are now options for holding events of up to 5,000 persons or more. Soon to open doors is the largest convention center in South America; its world-class design and functionality will make this auditorium one of the top ones worldwide.
Noteworthy to mention is that the local government is incentivizing the M&E industry by offering groups savings of up to US$ 100,000 for a convention of 500 rooms or more!.
Panama has a first-world infrastructure starting with a U.S. style capital city, high speed internet, the second largest free trade zone in the world, a banking sector with 105 banks, tap water you can drink, first rate hotels and restaurants, and the best and largest shopping centers in Latin America. The road network, medical care, telecommunications, and business services are excellent, comparable to U.S. standards, as noted in the AARP's Modern Maturity magazine.
This tropical paradise counts with important hotel chains that have strategically decided to start their operations in Panama first than any other country in Central America, such as Waldorf Astoria and Ritz Carlton. There are also other exclusive hotel chains such as Riu, Hard Rock, Hyatt, Sheraton, Hilton, The Westin Playa Bonita & Dreams, that have long been established here.
According to reputable sources such as Gallup-Healthways, Panama has been topping the rankings as one of the world's happiest countries during 2014 and 2015. We as a people, have scored the highest on these yearly surveys regarding well-being. This means that your participants will be served with great pleasure!.
Panama City is nestled right next to the only rainforest within city limits in the world, the Metropolitan Park. It is also surrounded by the Panama Canal rainforest where some of the best day trips take place. Walk through Pipeline Road for Panama's best birding, 30 minutes from the capital; there's a record here of 350 bird species counted in one single day! Panama has around 976 different bird species and about 650 of them are found in the Panama Canal Area. Panama has also superb fishing on both coasts and it is considered by many as a top destination for sport fishing; we hold about 170 world fishing records, more than any other destination.
Panama's abundant marine life also supports five excellent diving and snorkeling areas: Coiba National Marine Park, the Pearl Islands, Bocas del Toro archipelago, Portobello and the Chiriqui Coast. Panama is one of the only two places in the world where Humpback whales come from the Southern and Northern hemispheres. It is estimated that up to 2,000 Humpback whales come to Panama during specific periods.
Panama has 7 colorful indigenous tribes as if taken right out of the pages of National Geographic. Each one of them live in sovereign territories where they preserve their own fascinating culture and way of life. Many live in accessible locations and are happy to share their life and culture with visitors. Just within minutes from the city you can have a once in a lifetime experience by spending some time with an authentic indigenous community.