The GLCM group started the morning off by taking a short 15 minute bus ride from our hotel to visit the Panama Convention Center, also referred to as PCC. The Panama Convention Center was opened a year ago and is considered the largest convention center in Central America.
PCC has a capacity of 15,000 people and is divided into two main areas. One half of the building is for the convention and banquet rooms, whereas the other side is used for galleries and exhibitions. A little less than a month ago 6,000 people watched the World Cup final in two of the three exhibition areas. Each of the three exhibition rooms have direct access to a concession stand and restrooms. One interesting feature of the convention center is that the lights are smart lights which means that each lamp has its own ID number and can be turned on or off individually through someone’s smart phone. PCC has 18 data rooms and our tour guide Daniel explained that high speed data is a necessity for modern convention centers, especially ones like PCC which recently hosted a United Nations conference. The kitchen in the convention center is able to be used to serve lunch to 12,000 people.
The Panama Convention Center has about 2,800 parking spaces outside and 800 parking spaces inside. We were told that it is not common for places in Panama to have parking and that the decision to include it in this project was to better service the clients. The view of the Bridge of the Americas can be seen in the photo of the parking lot below.
The next visit on our second to last day in Panama was to see the new airport expansion at Tocumen International Airport. We watched a fascinating presentation inside the airport then took the shuttle bus to the new terminal. The airport has 2 passenger terminals, 1 cargo terminal, and 53 boarding bridges. There are 18 commercial airlines and 17 cargo airlines that operate in Tocumen International Airport. It was estimated that in 2022 about 15.7 million passengers used the terminals.
The expansion project of the Tocumen International Airport started in 2013. It was explained that four amendments had to be made throughout the construction process in order to increase the time for completion. The presentation included photos that were taken before, during and after construction, which was really interesting to see. The expansion project cost roughly one billion dollars (9.7 million) and it included either the upgrade or creation of the utility park, terminal 2, the river, and the boulevard. More plans are being made to expand terminal 2 by adding more runways. One fact that I found surprising is that 18% of total passengers traveling through the terminal are from Brazil. This is the reason why all of the signs in the airport are in Spanish, English, and Portuguese. All in all, it was really interesting to learn more about the Panama Convention Center and the Tocumen International Airport Expansion Project this morning.
Blog by Teresa Barrett