Panamanian Hospitality Comes to Toronto

with Helen Hewetson

Cristina Valencia from Andes Travel is awarded the Grand Prize by Clara Rangel, Copa Airlines; Marjorie Bravo, Consul for Panama in Toronto & Yolanda Molinuevo Ortega, Copa Airlines

Luis Vargas & Martin Harrington (Uncle Marty) greeted everyone with a big smile

Some of the yummy breakfast spread

Chris Stubbs from Rainforest Adventure.

Copa Airlines and Visit Panama recently held a breakfast reception at the Hilton in downtown YTO. Familiar faces for many of the attendees included Yolanda Molinuevo Ortega & Clara Rangel, Sales Executives for Copa Airlines in Canada along with Luis Vargas, Tourism Promoter for the Panama Tourism Authority. 

As the small group of agents and operators mingled and munched on a plentiful breakfast spread, we learned what Panama has to offer, directly from the suppliers themselves.

All reports suggest that sunny Panama is gaining in popularity with North Americans: with amazing beaches on both the Atlantic and Pacific, a well-deserved reputation as a safe destination, a growing economy and a cosmopolitan capital city, this shouldn’t be a surprise, there’s a lot to love beyond the famous canal. 

Some of the hoteliers and operators came all the way from Panama to meet Canadian agents and explain their unique products. These included the appropriately-named Happy Tours, where Martin Harrington (AKA “Uncle Marty”) has been a charmingly gregarious host to visitors for “as long as [he] can remember!”

On hand were representatives from Trump Hotels, Hilton and Waldorf Astoria Panama – all with excellent options for upscale clients. And Turista Internacional, a local Panamanian operator, was present to promote a wide selection of city stay packages for all budgets. Another familiar face in the crowd was Chris Stubbs, representing Rainforest Adventure. This creative operator offers adventurous excursions and tour packages throughout Panama. Agents get a very competitive 15% commission (20% every September & October) on each booking made. 

With such a small group of agents (people! If you RSVP, it’s only polite to show up!) the odds of winning were excellent for the giveaway at the end of the breakfast. Copa Airlines generously awarded 2 flights to Panama, and all of the suppliers chipped in to offer a complete holiday including transfers, accommodation, excursions and activities. 

There shouldn’t be any question left about visiting Panama, at least in Molinuevo Ortega’s mind – she shivers triumphantly as she tells us that she made it through last winter in Toronto, and (amazingly) plans to do it again this year. But only if she has a chance to get some Panamanian sunshine at some point during the season!

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