Less than four hours by air from major hubs such as Houston, Miami, Atlanta, and Dallas, Panama is experiencing major growth and landing squarely on the meeting map. Panama City has a largely bilingual population, comprises the world's second-largest International Free Trade Zone, and its currency is the U.S. dollar. Meanwhile, the Panama Canal has launched a huge expansion program aimed at doubling the waterway's capacity within 10 years.
The world's largest country by size, crossing 11 time zones, Russia is seeing major foreign investment and visitor growth. Passenger flow at Moscow International Airport was up from 19 million in 2002 to more than 33 million in 2006. Planned airport expansion will increase capacity to more than 85 million by 2012. Moscow hotel occupancy and average room rates also have increased dramatically. In 2001 the average rate was $136. Last year it had risen to $352.
The Middle East hotel industry is one of the fastest-growing in the world, according to 2007 results from the Hotel Benchmark Survey by Deloitte. The Middle East saw revenue per available room grow 17 percent, exceeding both Asia-Pacific and Europe, while average room rates were up 11 percent to $151 and occupancy increased 5 percent to 72 percent. Meanwhile travel projections show the region's potential is far from realized. A report from the 2007 Arabian Hotel Investment Conference says projects earmarked for Dubai alone stretch to 2020 and will add 80,000 hotel rooms by 2010.
Find the Top 10 Reasons to Visit Croatia at www.essentialcroatia.com. Among them: “Dubrovnik has become one of the most stylish cities on the Mediterranean, with a vibrant café and arts scene.” Croatia also is welcoming new properties such as the five-star Kempinski Hotel Adriatic in Istria, which opened in June on a private beach a few miles north of Umag, a two-hour boat ride from Venice.