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Panama looks to draw Chinese tourists

By Zhou Wenting in Shanghai | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-11-12 12:45
President of the Republic of Panama Juan Carlos Varela hosts an event to promote the Central American country as a travel destination for Chinese tourists in Shanghai on Nov 8, 2018. [Photo/Provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Panama's tourism authority has set up a new Mandarin website and accounts on Weibo and WeChat to engage Chinese tourists, said the country's president Juan Carlos Varela during his recent visit to Shanghai.

Varela had hosted an event to promote his country as a travel destination for Chinese tourists in Shanghai on Nov 8. During the event, he spoke about Panama's beautiful scenery and mix of modern and colonia era architecture.

"We've also collaborated with Alipay and China UnionPay to allow Chinese consumers to make mobile payments and use their Chinese credit cards to shop," he said.

"We hope that the number of travelers to Panama from the Chinese mainland will reach tens of thousands of people in 2020," he said.

Varela highlighted that Shanghai and Panama have enjoyed strong bilateral ties for many years. For instance, all the container ships leaving Shanghai for the East Coast of the US have to pass through the Panama Canal.

Apart from Varela, other senior officials from Panama, which established diplomatic relations with China in June last year, as well as Cheng Hongmei, deputy director of the Shanghai Tourism Administration, attended the event.

According to senior Panamanian tourism officials, Chinese citizens can enter Panama as long as they have visas that allow them to enter either of the following regions or countries: Schengen, United States, Canada, Japan and South Korea.

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