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Contact: Rene Abadie
Date: 2/5/04
 
SOUTHEASTERN TRAINING TOURISM PROFESSIONALS FROM PANAMA
      HAMMOND --  More than 30 businessmen and women from the Republic of Panama who are involved in tourism and related industries are participating in a training seminar at Southeastern Louisiana University next week (Feb. 6-15).
      Featured speakers and seminar leaders include representatives of the Inter-American Development Bank, the Organization of American States, Southeastern faculty, Louisiana Department of Economic Development and the Louisiana Office of Tourism as well as professionals associated with the World Trade Center and tourism industry in New Orleans. 
      In addition to classroom work, participants will visit tourist sites such as Southeastern’s Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts in downtown Hammond, area parks, plantations and campgrounds, said Aristides R. Baraya, director of Southeastern’s Latin American Business and Development Initiative in the College of Business and Technology.
      Participants also will have the opportunity to interact with area travel agents, hotel and restaurant management professionals, transportation specialists and cruise line managers.
      “The Republic of Panama is involved in a huge, government-sponsored project designed to encourage and develop the tourism industry, especially along the Pacific coast,” Baraya said. “Major hotel chains are building new resorts to tap into the nation’s eco-tourism potential. Panama has developed into a strong democracy with a calm political climate which is conducive to the tourism trade.”
      The program is being conducted under the auspices of Southeastern’s Office of International Initiatives, the Latin American Business and Development Initiative, and the Department of Continuing Education in cooperation with the Panama Authority for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. The seminar follows several successful programs that Southeastern has conducted in recent years for Panamanian agribusiness professionals and for Kuna Indian artisans from Panama. The university also has conducted several management programs for young entrepreneurs from Colombia.