Thomas Jefferson said, “I’m a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”
Panama has enjoyed some lucky breaks over the past few years that the popularity and general perception of the country. These occurances may have been the result of hard work whose luck was long overdue. But an uncanny sequence of timely events created a snowball effect of attention for tiny nation once known only for “the big ditch” and a pineapple-faced dictator. Among the most notable:
Justine Pasek wins Ms. Universe- Pasek, the daughter of a Polish engineer and Panamanian homemaker, won the title after then-reigning winner Oxana Federova was stripped for not fulfilling the duties stipulated in her contract. One year later, the contest took place in Panama, in a convention center whose investors include Ms. Universe contest’s co-owner, Donald Trump.
CBS’s Hit Show ‘Survivor’ filmed in Panama – Survivor Pearl Islands was the 7th installment of hit series that has become on of the network’s longest running shows. This edition had a pirate theme and the tribes were named Drake and Morgan, for the famous buccaneers. In 2006 the 12th season of Survivor returned to the same Pearl Islands. The stunning scenery of what was known as “exile island” on the show led to a notable increase in tourism interest in Panama after both aired.
Ruben Blades Named Tourism Minister- while singer/actor/songwriter Ruben Blades may not be a favorite amongst the tourism community for some controversial moves made while minister, the celebrity cache he brought to the position has no doubt enhanced Panama’s visibility worldwide. He was appointed minister by President Martin Torrojos.
Canal Expansion Approved – approval of Panama’s $8B canal expansion was a landmark event and made worldwide news. The approval brought with it a palpable sense of grand possibilities and financial confidence to Panama. The project is currently underway and the economic boon derived is only beginning to be felt.
Brangelina Visit- Mega “it” couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie make an extended and well documented visit to Panama. they spend time with renowned architect Frank Gehry and tour the site for his future biodiversity museum project in Panama City.
Bond, James Bond - the 23rd installment of James Bond began filming in Panama City, Panama. Panama was on display as headlines across the globe r beneath it paparazzi fotos of the films stars parading through Panama’s city streets.
These events and others have helped generate compounding interest in the country over the past few years. Certainly we can expect more news that helps propel Panama to a more visible position on the international investment and tourism landscape.
|Written by Casey Halloran|
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Filed under: History on March 19th, 2008