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    Panama Business & Tourism
    Panama has been a hub for tourism and businesses for decades. Even before development of the Panama Canal, entrepreneurs mixed business with pleasure in the Central American country with relative freedom.

    Regulations

    Visas are required for tourists to Panama from the United States, but they remain cheap at $5 apiece. For comprehensive travel information, visit the Department of State's online travel guide.

    Growth

    According to Business Panama, the number of tourists who visited Panama between January and September 2008 was 1,110,000, up from 982,640 visitors during the same months during 2007. Both are record highs, which coming years are expected to surpass.

    Possibilities

    Business investment and even individual, tourist-oriented and foreign-owned businesses are relatively easy to set up in Panama. Coordinators of The Panama Business and Tourism Expo, scheduled for 2010 and taking place in New Jersey, hope to mainstream such opportunities.

    Opportunities

    Some foreigners living in Panama operate accommodations, including eco-camps and small hotels, while others run horseback riding or river rafting tours. According to Sylvia Peters of yourpanama.com, "The opportunities are virtually endless."

    Benefits

    Under Panama's Law 8, tourism businesses that invest more than $50,000 USD in Panama earn benefits such as exemption from import tariffs and reduced or exempted real estate taxes.

    Article Written By David J. Harvey

    David J. Harvey has worked as a journalist since 2006, while earning a degree in political science and writing at the University of California, San Diego. He has written and edited for the UCSD "Guardian" and the AUC "Caravan" in Cairo, and currently freelances with San Diego's "Uptown News."

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