2007, Report
Sustainable Tourism Sector Development and Institutional Strengthening Project

Timor-Leste has few natural resources – mainly oil, gas and fish. Although development of oil and gas resources provide needed revenue to fund the national budget, it will not generate employment and livelihood opportunities for rural communities, which suffer from low agricultural productivity and food shortages, due to steep, rocky topography and dry climate. The tourism sector in Timor- Leste has the potential to bring socio-economic development to rural areas providing employment and income to rural communities along popular tourist routes and in areas where there are clusters of tourism attractions.

Coastal & Marine Ecotourism Values, Issues & Opportunities on the North Coast of Timor Leste
Final Report |

Well-managed coral reefs have the potential to provide significant economic benefits for Timor Leste. Within South East Asia (SEA), the potential value of coral reef fisheries is 38.5% of the global total of US$5.7 billion, while the potential value of tourism is 50% of the global total of US$9.6 billion. This reflects the continued high dependence of countries within the SEA region on coral reefs for food security and increasing tourism related revenue.

Organisations: Government of Timor Leste, Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries

Authors: Edyvane K, McWilliam A, Quintas J, Turner A, Penny S, Teixeira I, Pereira C, Tibirica Y, Birtles A

2009, Report
Marine Megafauna Surveys in Timor Leste
Identifying Opportunities for Potential Ecotourism | Final Report

The aim of this study was to determine if cetaceans and other megafauna aggregated in the nearshore waters of Timor Leste, and if so, to assess opportunities for regional ecotourism industries based on this resource. The project included (i) monthly aerial surveys (ii) field ground-truthing using boats and (iii) training of TL government staff in aerial survey techniques (manual prepared) and GIS analysis of data.
A light plane was used for aerial surveys of megafauna within two nautical miles of the coastline on a monthly basis from April to November 2008. During four days in November megafauna were also surveyed using a boat along the Dili region of the coast.

2014, Report
2014 Survey of Travelers to Timor-Leste

The development of an international tourism industry is crucial if Timor-Leste is to diversify avenues for economic growth, and reduce its reliance on oil. The Government of Timor-Leste’s Strategic Devel- opment Plan identifies tourism as one of five sectors critical to the country’s economic development and one that can spark private sector industries that earn export dollars. Despite this, there exists a current dearth in available data relating to traveler experiences that could otherwise inform those responsible for policy formation.

Organisations: The Asia Foundation

Authors: Gobie Rajalingam