panama stopover copa airlines

Panama Stopover Program: Everything You Need to Know

What would you say if we told you you could get two vacations for the price of one? Sounds like a pretty good deal, right? Well, starting in 2020, there’s a new program that allows travelers to do just that. The Panama Stopover program will allow international travelers to add a Panamanian vacation to their itinerary for no extra cost. 

If the program goes according to plan, it could be a huge success for both travelers and Panama’s economy. Read on to find out more about this ingenious program and how to take advantage of it. 

What is the Panama Stopover Program?

The Panama Stopover program is a new initiative to encourage international travelers to add a layover to Panama. For no additional charge, travelers can extend their layover in Panama for up to a full week. This plan takes advantage of Panama’s central location that often makes it a layover spot between North and South America or South America and Europe or Asia. 

Three entities have come together to create a marketing campaign for the Panama Stopover program. The Tourism Authority of Panama (ATP), Panama’s Tourism Promotion Fund (PROMTUR), and Copa Airlines are collaborating on this campaign.

The idea is to sell travelers on the appeal of “Two Destinations, One Fare.” In order to ensure this option appeals to travelers, the campaign focuses on many of Panama’s desirable offerings. Costa Rica, Peru, and Colombia still outpace Panama when it comes to international tourism. Nonetheless, Panama offers many similar attractions to these more popular destinations.

The Panama Stopover program campaign highlights Panama’s fantastic natural landscapes, cultural experiences, and culinary delights. When travelers can add Panama to their travel itinerary at no extra cost, they’ll see what this marvelous country has to offer. 

Benefits for Panama

The Panama Stopover program provides a cost-effective way for jet setters to enjoy an additional destination. Additionally, it could also lead to substantial boosts in Panama’s tourism industry. Each year, about 6 million travelers have a layover in Panama. Most of these tourists, however, never leave the airport. If the Panama Stopover Program convinces even a modest percentage of these tourists to spend a few days to a week in Panama, this could mean a serious increase in revenue.  

The minds behind the program estimate that it will attract an additional 125,000 tourists to Panama each year. These tourists would contribute an estimated $100 million to Panama’s annual economy. One can imagine that locally run hotels, restaurants, and tourist attractions all stand to enjoy the perks of the stopover program. 

Taking Advantage of the Panama Stopover Program

While the campaign for the Panama Stopover program is already being rolled out, the offer itself will begin in the early months of 2020. Initially, the program will be limited to flights booked with Copa Airlines. Copa offers itineraries between Panama and 80 destinations in 33 countries. This provides tons of opportunities for travelers to take advantage of the program. 

After the initial rollout with Copa Airlines, the plan is to expand the program to include KLM, Air Europa, Air China, and carriers. Eventually, the hope is to include almost all of the more than 25 Star Alliance airlines. 

In order to participate, travelers can contact Copa Airlines Reservation Centers or ConnectMiles Service Centers to purchase a Panama Stopover ticket. With sales representatives in dozens of countries and over 60 offices across the continent, purchasing a Panama Stopover ticket will be easy. 

Regardless of how you look at it, this program presents a win-win outcome. Travelers have the opportunity to extend their vacation and get to know Panama at no extra cost. Local businesses will benefit from additional tourism. And more people will get to know just how much Panama has to offer!


  1. Dennis Cullen

    on said  

    As a City Economic Development Director, it makes sense. Layovers should be enjoyable, not exhausting and time wasted.


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