15:46 PM

TPA builds on relationship with Panama

(October 31, 2014) - Tampa International Airport CEO Joe Lopano and Vice President of Marketing Chris Minner were among a delegation of Florida business leaders who traveled to Panama in October to discuss potential business opportunities between Panama and the Tampa Bay region. Florida’s bond with Panama continues to grow and strengthen through business relationships across the state, including a strong presence in Tampa Bay thanks to the partnership between Tampa International Airport and Copa Airlines which began nonstop service in December 2013.

Minner and Lopano were part of a trade mission to Panama through a program organized by the State of Florida to encourage Florida companies to look for new export opportunities and to talk to companies and investors from other countries about opportunities to invest here in Florida.

Other local participants included the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation, Pinellas County Economic Development, and the Port of Tampa.
Panama Mission group
Minner and Lopano were among a delegation of 98 Florida business leaders, 12 of whom came from the Tampa Bay area, twice as many as from nearby Orlando.

“It is a direct reflection of the economic impact that TPA has on our region, on our state, and on the way that this region is seen in the world,” says Minner.

Minner says that this trip was unique in that the Chamber of Commerce in Panama has expressed an interest in an opportunity for an outbound mission for its membership.

“They have received groups from all over, welcoming them into Panama, but they are also interested in economic opportunity,” says Minner. “Now the EDC is exploring the possibility for the first ever U.S. mission for the Chamber of Commerce to come to Tampa, and to align that with the International Town Hall, a major event that highlights and showcases the international footprint for the region.”

In addition to representing Tampa Bay as part of the delegation, Minner and Lopano also met with representatives from Panama’s Tocumen International Airport to discuss capital development, and met with Copa Airlines’ CEO Pedro Heilbron to discuss the company’s performance and satisfaction with business at TPA. Heilbron will be returning to Tampa at the end of October to receive the 2014 Tony Jannus Award.