2022, Report Promoting Sustainable Tourism Futures in Timor-Leste by Creating Synergies between Food, Place, and People |

Situated approximately an hour’s flying time north of Darwin, Australia, the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, is one of the world’s youngest nations. Timor-Leste is geographically a small country comprising approximately 15,000 square kilometres of the eastern half of Timor Island, a small number of offshore islands and an exclave situated on the northern coast of West Timor. Timor-Leste is home to just over a million people and has one of the youngest populations in the Asia-Pacific region (median age 17.4 years; Government of Timor-Leste, 2019). After centuries of colonial administration and decades of hostile occupation, Timor-Leste became a sovereign, independent nation in 2002. However, despite its rich natural resources and significant economic, health and education gains since 2002, Timor-Leste remains classified by the United Nations as a ‘least developed country’ and continues to face the myriad of challenges associated with this.

In 2014, nearly 42 percent of the citizens of Timor-Leste were living in poverty (World Bank, 2020). In 2018, Timor-Leste ranked 131 out of 189 countries and territories on the Human Development Index, which assesses long-term progress on life expectancy, education and per capita income. There are also numerous urgent gender concerns, including pervasive gender-based violence, high maternal mortality, and significant gender gaps in labour market and local governance participation (United Nations Development Program, 2019). When employment fell to 89.6 percent in 2010 (from 91.5% in 2004), women and rural areas were most affected, with the employment rate for women falling 5.3 percent compared to 0.2 percent for men (Ministry of Finance, 2010). Gender inequality is a significant obstacle to socio-economic development and needs to be addressed as an imperative for Timor-Leste’s sustainable development.

Organisations: The Asia Foundation Authors:

2022, Report Mount Ramelau Eco-Trail Sustainable Management Plan |

USAID’s ‘Tourism For All’ Project is working with the Government of Timor-Leste (GOTL) to diversify its economy, using an inclusive sustainable approach to stimulate eco-friendly community-Nbased tourism in line with the 2017 National Tourism Policy, promoting the country’s valuable natural and cultural assets, while preserving its unique environmental, social and cultural heritage.
Three (of 46) protected areas (PA’s), sites of particular biodiversity, ecological, historical and cultural interest were selected for the development of sustainable management practices as examples for other regions across the nation. They are Ataúro Island, Cristo Rei and Tatamailau (‘Grandfather of All’), commonly referred to as Mt. Ramelau.
Although many PA issues are discussed, the focus of this Sustainable Management Plan (SMP) is the ‘Tourist Eco-Trail’ accessible from Hatu-Builico that leads to the Mt. Ramelau summit, buffer areas on both sides, and associated areas of congregation.
Centrally located in Timor-Leste, Mt. Ramelau is Timor’s highest mountain standing at 2,986 m ASL (9,798 ft.), located 40 km south of the Timor-Leste’s capital Dili. According to the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA), initial international designation of the Mt. Ramelau Protected Area (PA) occurred in the year 2000, however it took 16 years to be legally recognized under Timor-Leste law.
Management of the Mt. Ramelau PA has not yet operationally reached required international standards for final classification.

Organisations: USAID’s Tourism For All Project Authors:

2022, Protection Baseline Supply and Demand Analysis with Consumer Perspective |

Timor-Leste has a wealth of assets to offer potential tourists. The core of its assets is natural; marine, coastal, mountains, and forests, all offer undiscovered drivers for tourists to appreciate and explore Timor-Leste. Its cultural and heritage assets could further set a compelling story to create a unique offering to tourists. Geographically, the tourism assets of Timor-Leste can be divided into Dili, Liquica, and Atauro Island (emerging destinations in the north western part of the nation),Maubisse, Hatobuilico, Mount Ramelau, and Balibo (nascent destinations and the central and western parts of the nation), and Baucau, Mount Matebian, Tutuala and Jaco Island (new destinations in the east of the nation). The Government of Timor-Leste has set itself a number of tourism-related goals to achieve by 2030:

• Revenue from international tourists and visitors to
reach US$150 million and employment in the sector
will reach 15,000 people
• Projected to get 200,000 international visits per year
by 2030, compared to 55,000 in 2014

Desk research explored the primary source markets of Australia, Singapore, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Germany, France, the USA, China, Japan, and Indonesia
as key nations responsible for the majority of TimorLeste’s existing and potential future demand. The later stages of research focused more specifically on Australia, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. Among all of these nations, the first and primary barrier to overcome is awareness of Timor-Leste, both as a nation and as a potential tourist destination. While focusing on driving this awareness, it will be important to clearly communicate the breadth and unique offering TimorLeste has to potential visitors to reverse some of the negative perceptions of the nation relating to previous conflicts and instability

Organisations: World Bank Group Authors: World Bank

10 September 2020, Report SUMMARY OF FINDINGS AND MARKETING ACTION PLAN Consultancy Assignment – Australia / Timor-Leste Tourism Market Analysis |

Despite its proximity and perceived natural beauty, Timor-Leste remains an undiscovered destination for the Australian tourist market.

There is a lack of understanding of how Australians travel, especially to similarly remote Asia and Pacific destinations like Timor-Leste, which limits how well Timor-Leste can competitively promote itself to the Australian market. Timorese tourism stakeholders would benefit from a better knowledge of what experience Australian tourists want and how to influence their decision-making.

The purpose of this project was to conduct consumer and trade market research to identify ‘most likely’ target segments and activate a Marketing Action Plan to benefit the local tourism industry.

While we could not have foreseen the damaging consequences of COVID-19 on global tourism, the timing of this project provided an opportunity to plan a unique schedule of marketing actions that focus on growing the local industry’s trade contacts and skill base now in preparation for mainstream marketing actions when travel restrictions ease ‘Post-COVID’.

Organisations: Market Development Facility Authors:

September 2019, Report Strategic Tourism Marketing Plan for Timor-Leste. The Key Source Market of Indonesia. |


The Asia Foundation’s assigned task to create a Strategic Marketing Plan for Timor-Leste in the Key Source Market of Indonesia provided an opportunity to explore the many niche market attractions of Timor-Leste; asses the current situation and challenges to growing the Timor-Leste tourism industry; and propose a list of specific marketing steps and recommendations to accelerate the National goal of making tourism the lead economic sector.
While data on the total number of actual annual international visitors to Timor-Leste can vary and sometimes appear contradictory, whichever data source is used it’s clear that the overwhelming majority of foreign visitors to Timor-Leste come from Indonesia.
Based on the synergistic effect of close proximity, shared borders, a communal and sometimes troubled history, and a commonality of language – all these factors portend that Timor-Leste and Indonesia, and in particular Timor-Leste and neighboring West Timor, will continue to share a common fate as regards their tourism futures.
The fact that the leading source of visitors come from Indonesia and nearly all of Timor-Leste’s visitors enter the country through an Indonesian gateway city (excepting air passengers via Darwin on Air North), means it can be persuasively argued that Timor-Leste’s ability to grow its tourism sector depends to a great extent on cooperation with its almost “all-embracing” Indonesian neighbor.
In the course of researching this study, a wide range of current impediments that are slowing or preventing the creation of a robust National Tourism Industry in Timor-Les- te were identified that, if satisfactorily addressed with the recommendations presented herein, will very quickly boost arrival numbers to an extent that will see the official goal of 200,000 foreign visitors by 2030 easily surpassed in the early years of the next decade.

Organisations: The Asia Foundation Authors:

, Education Tour Guiding Training Module |

This training module is used by USAID’s Tourism For All staff to do capacity building to Association that is aiming to prepare their people to become professional tour guiding. Please inform Tourism for All team in advance before using this module for training.

Organisations: USAID’s Tourism For All Project Authors:

2022, Report Tourism Asset Mapping Report |

This is the final consultancy report of a Tourism Asset Mapping (TAM) conducted under an Asian Development Bank (ADB) technical assistance project “Cross-Border Trade and Cooperation between Indonesia and Timor-Leste.” Between 2017 and 2018, ADB conducted a scoping study on enhanced cross-border cooperation and integration between Indonesia and Timor-Leste. One of the potential opportunities identified was development of cross-border tourism itineraries, supported by reduction in transport barriers and costs. This focused on creating joint itineraries under the banner “One Island-Two Nations” and creating niche products for tourists which combines highlights from West Timor in NTT and Timor-Leste in a non-competitive manner.

In May 2019, the Governments of Indonesia, Timor-Leste and the ADB signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to support cross-border trade and cooperation which included commitments to progress tourism cooperation. This agreement is currently being supported by the Cross-Border Trade and Cooperation between Indonesia and Timor-Leste technical assistance project which commenced in July 2019 and completed in December 2021. One of the main activities on tourism cooperation is to conduct a tourism asset mapping (TAM) with stakeholders of assets and attractions in Timor-Leste and West Timor and use these results to identify viable
joint island itineraries. The objective of the report is to explain the methodology and findings of the TAM conducted on Timor Island.

Organisations: Asian Development Bank Authors:


USAID has contracted a Consultancy under its Tourism For All Project to promote Timor-Leste’s tourism sector and preserve the country’s rich cultural heritage and natural
environment. A core element of this program is to support the Government of Timor-Leste
(GOTL) to facilitate private investment partnerships and foster sustainability in the tourism
sector. USAID’s Tourism For All Project follows the National Tourism Policy document, titled
‘Growing Tourism to 2030: Enhancing a National Identity 2017’.
This policy in turn takes on board
the GOTL’s primary national development policy agenda, the ‘Strategic Development Plan 2011-2030’.
The recently prepared Priority Project Action Plan Report outlines five fast-tracked tourism-related initiatives to complement the Cristo Rei Modernization and Management Pilot Project
under USAID’s Tourism For All Project. These projects will improve service delivery in the
tourism sector by creating an ecosystem of small and large investments in businesses in various
activities across intersecting industry value chains. One of the priority projects is the Dili Port
Site Redevelopment and Commercialization initiative, which forms the subject of this report.

Organisations: USAID’s Tourism For All Project Authors:


The objective of this Priority Project Action Plans Report is to present a set of time-phased
Action Plans to develop as viable transactions. The five (5) designated projects that
have been selected are the result of the Project Team’s assessment and screening of
the total thirty-six (36) initiatives included in the Master List. The utility of this report
is to equip project sponsors (public, private, and donor) with a sound understanding
of project viability to develop the Projects from concept to feasibility and, ultimately,
to the bid and tender phases of implementation. This project analysis encompasses
assessments of potential risks and opportunities, market interest and requirements,
and stakeholder responsibilities, as well as additional data gathering and due diligence
The primary conclusion of the report is that all five (5) Priority Project are highly
economically impactful and, with the support of the government, will likely attract
private interest and investment, as well as donor / blended finance participation.
Importantly, these initiatives are not unduly large in scope, nor will they pose undue
fiscal risk to the GOTL in properly structured. On the contrary, with USAID support,
these projects can demonstrate the role of the private sector in improving service
delivery and promoting good governance in the economic and tourism sectors.
It is our view that all the project preparation work necessary to attract private
investors/bidders can be completed in a relatively short period of time and begin
demonstrating visible results in the near future. These Action Plans and subsequent
project development models will serve as replicable templates for the consideration
of further investment in the Tourism Sector in Timor-Leste which can serve as
strategic platforms to generate employment, improve service delivery, and promote
sustainable environmental management and conservation practices.

Organisations: USAID’s Tourism For All Project Authors: