Over on the List of Sailboats and Captains thread, while a few idiots thought I was trying to sell real estate, what I was trying to say was that the face of tourism in Panama is changing. I knew that Cocuye wouldn't be friendly to smelly bikers and budget backpackers. I knew that companies like Colon 2000 wanted to expand towards San Blas. I didn't know Colombia would actually ban motorcycle transport by private sailboat.
Now a few things are looking more clear. For example:
Most tourism in Panama is not US based. Colombia and Venezuela supply more tourists than the US. The two biggest tourism companies are Colon 2000 and Decameron. Colon 2000 operates out of Colon, and primarily caters to cruise ships. Decameron is a Club Med style of resort, with main facilities near Coronado, on the Pacific. The guys who run both companies are SHREWD. Their stated business plan is to capture every possible $ from their guests; apparently, one way they plan to guarantee success is to block everyone else from being able to do business, even just transport a motorcycle on a sailboat.
Decameron already bought a big chunk of Cocuye. The new resort is supposed to be opening in a year. Probably in 2 years, not one, though.
It looks, to me, like the ferry will be more tourism-based than immigration-based, and the primary beneficiaries will be the luxury resorts and the adventure travel companies, primarily Colon 2000, with support from the bug Panama hotels and casinos. The Free Zone in Colon will also benefit. They are betting on demand from Colombians- they have to be, because Panama has less than 3 million people, certainly not enough to support a ferry.
By the way, I'm just saying what I'm guessing, and I'm not selling anything. I'm not affiliated with Decameron or Colon 2000. Although my uncles own Cocuye, I'm not in any way connected to the sale, and I've actually tried to persuade them to keep it private and wild.
Baja 1000 Countdown: 22 days.