Panama and Costa Rica adjust all the details of the methodology that will be used for the entry of pilgrims during the World Youth Day (WYD), for those who choose to do so through the common border post of Guabito in the Panamanian province of Bocas del Toro, said today an official source.
The authorities of both countries met in the Caribbean town of Changuinola, in Bocas del Toro, with members of the Catholic Church who provided a report on the organization that has been deployed in relation to the transport of pilgrims from Costa Rica to Panama in buses from parishes near the border area.
All this taking into account that travelers were already registered as pilgrims by the Local Organizing Committee of WYD 2019, which will be held in Panama from January 22 to 27, the Panamanian National Customs Authority (NCA) said in a statement.
Among the institutions present at this meeting were representatives of the Customs Authority, the National Border Service, the Fire Department, the National Aeronaval Service, the National Police and the National Migration Service of Panama.
On the other hand, the customs entity announced the arrival at the International Airport of Tocumen, the main one of Panama, of the first pilgrims from Mexico, who decided to make their Affidavit of Traveler electronically.
The Affidavit of Traveler can be downloaded, printed and filled in advance by entering the address https://bit.ly/2D0xdpZ. The Customs Authority has emphasized to travelers that they must complete all the information requested and sign the document before arriving at any point of customs control.
It stressed that this is one of the operations for speed up the entrance of pilgrims in an expeditious manner, but maintaining the controls and the systematized verification of visitors entering the country.
The Panamanian Episcopal Conference (PEC) reported in November that there are already 226,000 registered pilgrims and about 5,000 accredited journalists.
The Government of Panama estimates that WYD will generate US$ 250 million in revenues, while different local media suggest that the event will require an investment of at least US$ 47 million.
In addition to immigration controls, national authorities have informed that the only telephone number that will be available in case of emergencies will be the 911, in a press conference in which the director of the National System of Civil Protection (Sinaproc), José Donderis, explained that they will attend hospital emergencies and rescues from fires and as well as incidents that require police intervention.
"We have coordinated air, land and sea resources to guarantee the safety of pilgrims and all Panamanians", he assured.
The Ministry of Environment of Panama also launched the platform "Ecoturismo360", an application that will allow tourists and pilgrims to know the country during WYD.
The virtual tool that began to work from last Wednesday, incorporates into its catalog some 12 protected areas that are detailed in videos, sounds, images in 360 degrees and views from the heights in fast camera; in addition to data of general interest and use of Google Street View, with images that were taken from drones and on the surface.
"Ecoturismo360 has surpassed 100,000 visits, and it should be the positive effect of # JMJ2019", the head of the Environment Secretary, Emilio Sempris, said in his Twitter account.
He argued that in the days leading up to the celebration of WYD in Panama, young pilgrims can visit these areas from their countries with the Ecoturismo360 platform and plan visits to sites chosen for their natural beauty.
The minister said that the application is a direct response of the Government to the growing interest of the millennials to connect with nature by using technological advances.
Among the green destinations shown in Ecoturismo360 are the Volcán Barú National Park, in the western province of Chiriqui; Cerro Hoya, in Azuero (center); the Santa Fe National Park in Veraguas (center); and La Amistad International Park (PILA), shared by Panama and Costa Rica.
As well as the Bastimentos Island Marine National Park, the Palo Seco Protected Forest and the San San Pond Sack International Wetland in Bocas del Toro (Caribbean); the Omar Torrijos National Park, in Coclé (center); and the Wild Area Corregimiento de Narganá of the Comarca Guna Yala (northeast).
And the Humedal of International Importance Damani Guariviara in the Ngäbe-Buglé District; the Fortuna Forest Reserve in Chiriquí; and the Altos de Campana National Park, on the western slope of the Panama Canal basin.
The project had the collaboration of the World Bank, the Global Environment Facility and the Sustainable Production and Biodiversity Systems Project.
The conservation areas in Panama occupy more than 40 percent of the national territory (75,000 square kilometers), three times more than the world average, which is 12 percent.