A hotel as economic stimulus

A hotel as economic stimulus

I just returned from Panama, where we are about to open our first hotel outside of the United States: Trump Ocean Club International Hotel & Tower Panama. It would be easy to look at this as a pure hotel opening, but it is much more than that, and it makes me think about the opportunity and responsibility that goes with opening hotels in other countries. 

To say that this hotel is a significant development for Panama is an understatement. It is the largest building in Latin America — encompassing more than 200,000 sq ft (18,581 sqm) — and it will serve as a stimulus to Panama’s economy as well as a gateway to the rest of Central and South America.

Our excitement over the opportunity we had in committing to Panama City started with the project’s location. That the hotel is an instant icon is evident in its design —reminiscent of a sweeping, elegant sail. Its location on the exclusive peninsula of Punta Pacifica gives the building a spectacular oceanfront positioning that guarantees a commanding view as one approaches Panama City from the airport. The building has changed Panama City’s skyline forever and will serve as the “hero shot” for all skyline photos to come.

Trump Ocean Club rises 70 stories above Panama Bay and offers views that extend to the Pearl Islands and the Pacific Ocean beyond. It is located just steps from Punta Pacifica’s sophisticated shops and nightlife and is five minutes from the city’s financial district. With a prime location near the new Corredor Sur highway, Trump Ocean Club will give guests almost immediate access to any destination within Panama City, and deliver them to and from the international airport within 15 minutes.

The complex, which includes a large residential component, offers 369 spacious hotel rooms and suites and will be a major employer in the city. Because Panama City has not seen a hotel of this size and caliber before, there will be a very strong emphasis on hiring and training. We’ll seek people who have the passion, drive and enthusiasm that it takes to work in a Trump hotel. And we’ll provide detailed training through Trump Institute, our customized hospitality training program.

The project brings additional opportunities for new retail operations including dining, a spa, a casino and numerous shops and boutiques. It will change the face of Panama City hospitality and serve as a stimulus for new business travel and tourism.

With opportunity comes responsibility. My brother, Eric, and I, along with Trump Hotel Collection COO Jim Petrus and members of the management team out of New York and Panama, held a press conference recently to update the people of Panama on the project’s progress. We were gratified to be supported by Panama’s minister of tourism, who had kind words to say about our organization and the importance of the project itself. There is so much interest in Trump Ocean Club that journalists flew in from the United States and other Latin American countries to participate and to interview us afterwards.

We look forward to extending our reach and being part of the international community through engagement with our new neighbors in Panama. If you have ideas about your experiences in opening hotels in other countries, please share them. I’m sure this blog community would appreciate your thoughts and insights.