MIAMI – After it extended travel restrictions several times, the government of Panama will finally reopen its borders on October 12. On that day, the country will receive international travelers back under strategic health and safety protocols.

According to Panamanian Tourism Minister Ivan Eskildsen, the institution that he represents, the Ministry of Health and other government authorities are working together in an initial tourism reopening strategy.

The new measures not only come as part of a safe travel approach but also celebrate a new recognition for Panama. Eskildsen revealed that the measures earned the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Safe Travels stamp of approval.

The Panamanian tourism safety guidelines feature from pre-travel requirements to decisions related to the touristic route. Apart from the new-normal mandatory face covering and rapid COVID-19 testing at Tocumen International Airport (PTY), passengers will have to fulfill other requirements.

Tocumen International Airport serves as hub of Copa Airlines. Photo: Schonbrunn.

WTTC Winning Protocols

From now on, all incoming travelers, including Panamanians, must present a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test upon arrival. These must be taken no more than 48 hours prior to arrival. If the test exceeds that timeframe, passengers will have to take a mandatory rapid test at the airport. The airport testing costs US$30.

Additionally, customers must complete an electronic affidavit before checking-in to their flight. In this form, travelers must agree to comply with all sanitary control measures outlined by the Ministry of Health.

With face masks also mandatory in all public spaces, the government introduced relevant measures to allow passengers to tour Panama. In tourist places and public transport, a limited number of allowed people and contactless policies are the new rules.

The Panamanian authorities also announced that if there are cases where passengers have an elevated temperature, they will be subject to a rapid COVID-19 test at their expense and/or additional health screenings.

In the case that result is positive, the government will facilitate a hotel stay with no cost for the traveler. The mandatory quarantine period will then be about seven days with other COVID-19 tests to be administered.

Featured photo: Tocumen International Airport. Photo: