The results of the binational meeting held last weekend, between members of the Chiriquí Chamber of Commerce, the Western Region Competitiveness Center and the Bocas del Toro Chamber of Tourism with representatives of the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism of The Cantons of the South, the Agency for the development of the South Zone and authorities of neighboring Costa Rica, are reflected with the opening of land borders to international tourism as of April 5th.
The lifting of the measure was confirmed by the Costa Rican authorities, who after several months due to the COVID-19 emergency, will allow all tourists who meet the immigration requirements to enter the country.
The initiative represents a great advance for the economic reactivation of both nations, according to the President of the Chamber of Commerce of Chiriquí Felipe Venicio Rodríguez, who assured that other negotiations are currently underway to facilitate the transit of private vehicles, special services and cargo transportation.
“We are making efforts to achieve a series of measures that allow better communication between both nations. We have suggested some initiatives so that our nationals can pass more expeditiously. Also talking about other topics such as the opening of Customs and Migration that close very early. We are suggesting that they be enabled 24 hours a day, seven days a week in the areas of Guabito, Rio Sereno and Paso Canoas”, stated Rodríguez.
A “Binational City”
The idea of the businessmen is to create a “Binational City” through the integration of an economic agenda, which allows the standardization of requirements, to make the entry and exit of Costa Rican and Panamanian citizens more flexible, while attending to the logistical issues of land, port, airport cargo, agro-industrial value chains, cold chains and insurance that promote the formation of a “single economic region”, according to what was sustained during the approach made in the Golfito sector.
With the opening of the border and the reinforcement of biosafety regulations, it is expected to recover the migratory movement in Paso Canoas, which in 2019 registered a total of 109,064 people according to data from the Tourism Authority of Panama.
The next objective of the businessmen is focused on establishing a high-level working group, to continue with the negotiations in favor of both regions, however it will depend on the support and integration that the governments can provide.