A group of tourism influencers, local media and tour operators were the first people to experience a new tour package to attract visitors to a small community in the mountainous Ainaro region of the country. The highlight of the tour was a hike to the spectacular Dokomali waterfall and the trip also included a lively welcome ceremony by local cultural elders in traditional Timorese costume, in Lebolau village. After the hike to the waterfall, the community prepared a lunch highlighting locally-grown produce.
The guided tour also featured a presentation about the country’s struggle for independence during a stop in Aileu Municipality at the statue of Nicolau Lobato, Timor-Leste’s first Prime Minister. The journey took the group through breathtaking scenery of mountain peaks and lush river valleys, pausing at the Fleixa viewpoint for a photo opportunity, with Mount Kablaki in the distance.
The tour was well-received by local authorities: in his welcome speech to the group, the village chief said the event was unique for them as was the first time an organized tour had visited his community. He added that the trip was a great opportunity for tourists to explore undiscovered attractions like Dokomali waterfall and expressed his support and commitment to future activities to develop tourism in the area.
USAID’s Tourism For All project created the package for promotion to both international and domestic travelers and the pilot group was asked to evaluate the itinerary so that it can be refined and put to market. All of the participants said that they were satisfied with the experience, with 90% rating the trip as “good” or “excellent”. The cultural performance was a big hit with the group, who rated it equally with the waterfall visit as a highlight of the trip. All of the participants said that they would recommend it to a friend.
Timor Post journalist Augusto Sarmento commented: “I’m delighted to be part of this amazing fam trip! As a journalist, I have never had this kind of incredible experience in my life so with this experience I could learn how to get the right information out to people on what sort of good or bad things that need to be maintained or improved to attract more tourists visiting these amazing undiscovered attractions”
Journalist Jacky Neves from Televizaun Edukasaun-TVE also gave a positive review: “I’m really excited to be part of this wonderful fam trip, as this such a valuable tool that we can use to promote some of Timor-Leste’s attractions to domestic and foreign tourists to contribute to income generation”.
After the pilot excursion, the itinerary was presented to seven Timor-Leste based tour operators and they all agreed to promote the package in the domestic and international tourism markets.
The trip received extensive coverage in local print, television and social media, putting the spotlight on a little-known destination and enhancing the financial prospects of the community. The media coverage also served to raise public awareness of tourism to the Timorese public, one of the goals of the national tourism policy.
Click on these links to view the films:
Travel Inspired (English Language): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQeZ9oRQEkc&ab_channel=AdamConstanza
Timor Post (Tetun Language):
Esplora beleza Natureza bee tudak Dokomali Aldeia Lebulau – YouTube
TVE (Tetun Language): https://fb.watch/v/MXiNaqP1/