It is impossible to think without relating Panama Canal, however, the country should focus on establishing an image that attracts not only tourists but investors and international clients, experts agree.
They insist that Panama needs a country brand that adds value to tourism promotion, which maintains direct investment and supply position of Panamanian companies in the local and international market.
But for the president of the American Council of Commerce and Production (CICYP) Roberto Alfaro, the country has many internal issues to resolve to establish itself as a country brand and the best place to invest. Alfaro believes that all issues of corruption in Panama and the concern of legal certainty entrepreneurs and free enterprise are not sending positive signals to investors.
To this Nadine Padron, executive director of Invivalink, dedicated to the creation and strengthening of a country brand, adds the need for the Panama Canal, Ruben Blades and Roberto Duran are no longer the only references the country abroad.
Invivalink for executives, Panama must have a distinctive mark strengthen its competitive to attract foreign direct investment, and strengthen sectors such as logistics and financial advantages. “Once presented and built a national brand, you should discuss business opportunities, entry of people, job creation and foreign exchange earnings,” Padron said.
According to Alfaro, Panama has achieved positive perceptions in the minds of tourists, investors and international clients, however, there are many things to solve as we consider a country brand or as the best place to invest.
“We walk with a very slow logistics, all governments in the area are trying to make investments and are the same for which we are competing we said.
This considering that the transport and communications sector accounted for 19.2% of gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter of 2015, financial intermediation contributed 7.8%, commerce 16.3%, while hotels and restaurants, mainly driven by tourism generated 3.0%.
With foreign direct investment (FDI) grew 32.2% in the first quarter of this year compared with the same period last year.
Demosthenes Perez, president of the Panamanian Association of Business Executives Supply Chain (ACOA) for the multinational sector Panama is seen only as a “Channel” and ensures that the expansion of the Canal is in the “talk of the world” . However, Perez is confident that the country will promote the service and value added logistics.
Meanwhile, in the tourism sector, claims have become apparent. Recently leaders of the main unions linked to the sector expressed concern about the lack of promotion that has the country.
The same applies to export sectors, where Juan Planells, president of the Panamanian Association of Exporters (Apex), believes that the great disadvantage of Panama is its ability to compete.
In this regard, he reiterated Invivalink are working from Panama and regional level to make people aware of the importance of the country brand through a campaign of contents.
Meanwhile, CICYP sees an opportunity in the Investment Forum 2015 to be fulfilled in October in Washington and New York, bringing together more than 200 utilities, export and industries. “We will teach the connectivity that Panama and we have large hub airport,” he said.
He added that all meetings through the Inter-American Council have attracted many companies to Panama, and has even managed the installation of about 110 international companies in Panama.
Panama, among the best brands country in the region 2014-2015
Despite reported shortcomings in logistics development, Panama has some achievements.
Country Brand Index by FutureBrand 2014-15 ranked Panama among the best country brands in the region.
Best Puerto Rico is located, 33rd in the world, followed by Costa Rica (37th), Panama (41st), Argentina (42nd) followed by Brazil, Chile, Peru, Uruguay, Mexico (55 .º) and Colombia (63rd).
The study showed that not all 75 countries studied have marks that qualify as real country brand.
In fact, only 22 meet the criteria to be and as a result have a measurable competitive advantage.
Ernesto Chong de León, Ernesto Emilio Chong Coronado
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