Theodore Slate - Feb 26, 2024
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Carnival days are one of the most anticipated festivities in Panama, and this year's event set a standard to promote them as a tourist attraction around the world. According to the Panama Tourism Authority (ATP), the 2024 Panama City Carnival organizers achieved an economic return of over US$18 million during the four days of festivities.

"In summary, the 2024 Panama City carnivals were a resounding success that promoted culture and tourism, boosted the local economy, and strengthened Panama's image as a world-class tourist destination," said Denise Guillén, ATP administrator.

The organizers believe these results prove they have exceeded expectations and laid the foundations to continue elevating the capital's Carnival as a first-class product to attract tourists.

"It is very satisfactory and impressive to say that we generated more than US$18 million in return on investment, considering our initial investment amount of US$1.6 million. This figure does not even include the profits of micro and small entrepreneurs with their food stalls," said Nadkyi Duque, the Panama City Carnival 2024 organizing board president.

The data shows that over 140,000 people, including both nationals and foreigners from various parts of the world, such as the United States, Colombia, Venezuela, France, England, Germany, and Hong Kong, came to Panama City to enjoy the carnival activities organized in the Old Town and on the coastal strip.

During Carnival 2024, Panama received 98,850 international visitors. More than 72,000 arrived via Tocumen International Airport, roughly 19,000 through cruise ships, and over 7,000 by land, according to ATP data.

Panama celebrates its Carnival for four continuous days before Ash Wednesday. During the festivities, they select the Carnival Queen, which became an official tradition in 1910. In the evenings, there are parades with queens wearing carnival costumes aboard allegorical floats, troupes, and tunas. These activities take place on squares and avenues.

The sardine burial is a significant act that indicates the end of the carnival festivities and the beginning of the season of Lent. Each region in Panama celebrates this event differently. In the capital city, the public and the carnival queens come out "crying and screaming" (in a farce tone). At the same time, a giant sardine can go ahead (sardine is a typical dish in Panamanian cuisine), and literally, they "bury the sardine."

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