Panama Canal Sets Visitor Record
The Panama Canal has set a new record with 963,000 visitors during its centennial year. This is the total number of visitors to the Miraflores Visitor Center in Panama City (Pacific) and the Expansion Observation Center and Gatun Visitor Center in Colon Province (Atlantic).
“This is the largest number of visitors received at the Panama Canal in a year,” Panama Canal Administrator Jorge L. Quijano said. “This highlights the waterway’s potential as a tourist attraction.”
This new record represents a 9.6 percent increase compared to fiscal year 2013. Of the total amount of visitors, 70% were foreigners and 30% Panamanian citizens.
The Miraflores Visitor Center received 82.5 percent of the visitors, while the Gatun Visitor Center and the Expansion Observation Center, both located in the province of Colon in the Atlantic side of the waterway, received 8.5 percent and 9 percent, respectively.
In 2004, the Panama Canal opened the Miraflores Visitor Center to tap the tourism potential of the waterway. Since then, renovations were made to the Gatun Visitor Center and the Expansion Observation Center was opened in 2012.
Miraflores Visitor Center offers tourists a complete Panama Canal experience. The center features a fully-equipped theater, which shows a 3D movie, three observation decks, four exhibition halls, two snack bars, a restaurant with panoramic view, a gift shop, and a hall for special events.
The Expansion Observation Center allows visitors to witness history in the making, while observing the construction of the new locks of the waterway. Immersed in a tropical rainforest and from an unrivaled viewpoint (50 meters above the Panama Canal), visitors may enjoy two views of the waterway: the construction site and Gatun Lake. The center has a theater, ecological trail, a restaurant and a cafeteria. It also has a children’s playground and a gift shop.
Just a few kilometers away from the Expansion Visitor Center, Gatun Visitor Center has an observation deck, allowing tourists to see the locks in the Atlantic side and witness transits from up close.
The three visitor centers are open seven days a week, including holidays.