Rebooting Safe Tourism in Timor-Leste

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The COVID19 pandemic has emphasised the importance of health and safety practices in international travel and tourism. As countries around the world reopen borders, international tourist are prioritising health and safety when deciding their post-pandemic holiday destinations. All stakeholders in the tourism industry of Timor-Leste need to work collaboratively to promote Timor-Leste as a safe destination. This can only be achieved by continuing to improve the safety management skills of tourism workers at a ground level. In Timor-Leste, we often travel to tourist locations that are remote and isolated from medical facilities and emergency services. This presents a unique set of risks and challenges to ensure safe tourism experiences. It is essential that when tourists travel in Timor-Leste they receive a world class standard of service with their safety and security as the number one consideration.

Safe Tourism Workshop group: Timor Unearthed, Agora Food Studio, Dreamers Dive Academy, Atauro Island Homestay Association, Beto Tasi Homestay Association, Blue Ventures, Kafe Natar Rohan, Balibo Trails, Hatu Bulico Guides.

What would happen if a tourist was severely injured or killed in Timor-Leste? A single major health and safety incident has the potential to cause significant damage to the reputation of Timor-Leste’s entire tourism industry and impact all tourism stakeholders. We must make it a top priority to upskill the tourism workforce and businesses to manage tourist safety.

In July 2021 Timor Unearthed in partnership with USAID’s Tourism For All Project implemented a project titled ‘Rebooting Safe Tourism In Timor-Leste’ (Hamoris Hikaas Turizmu Ne’ebe Seguro Iha Timor-Leste). The project aimed to upskill tourism workers to provide a safer tourism experience and raise awareness about safe tourism through a domestic social media campaign.

Group field trip to Cristo Rei to conduct tour scenarios and identify potential hazards and risks.

Our project team consisted of Alex Johnson (TU Director), and three Safe Tourism Trainers Anas Madeira (TU Operations Manager), Shella Smith, and Avanti Morisco. Our team conducted a series of online training sessions to improve our trainer’s knowledge on safety management. The training focused on hazard and risk identification skills, strategies to manage risks and design safer tourism experiences, and how to complete tourism activity risk assessments. Our team designed a 5 day safe tourism workshop intended to share this knowledge with 10 tourism workers from various organisations across Timor-Leste. The workshop was designed to be educational and engaging and promote creativity and collaboration. In addition to learning about safety in tourism, the workshop group designed infographic and video content that would feature in an online awareness campaign across social media in Timor-Leste.

Over the course of the 5 day workshop the Safe Tourism trainers facilitated theoretical presentations, group work activities, and practical sessions. This included field trips to Cristo Rei and Dare waterfall, hosting 10 tourism university graduates for a 1 day training session, and working in partnership with Pixel Asia Productions to produce safe tourism videos.

On the road filming safe tourism video’s with the Pixel Asia team.

“I am happy and grateful to Timor Unearthed for providing this training. It is a new experience for me. This training is essential for tourism because safety and security are essential for the tour guide. If there is a lack of safety and security it can have a devastating impact on tourism, and it is necessary to prioritize safety and security.” – Manuel Marques – (Association Tourism Ramelau Blehitu and Kablake / ASTRABEKA)


The workshop group created 4 infographics and 3 videos which were promoted on Facebook across Timor-Leste in a social media awareness campaign. The campaign went viral with over 17,600+ reactions, and 1000+ shares on Timor-Leste’s Facebook network. The safe tourism materials reached over 223,000 people in Timor-Leste – that’s over 17% of the entire population of Timor-Leste viewing at least one of the safe tourism materials! It was fantastic to see Timor-Leste’s online community supporting our campaign and sharing the importance of safety in the tourism industry. You can access all the safe tourism online resources here.

A special thank you to all the partnering organisations and representatives who participated in the workshop, Facebook users who shared our message online, and USAID’s Tourism For All Project for supporting our grant activity.


Rebooting Safe Tourism Workshop


10 Tips to a Safe Hiking Experience


10 Tips to a Safe Driving Experience

Group work activity creating tourism activities map and identifying associated hazards and risks

Group work activity with tourism graduate students presenting safe tourism infographic designs.

On the road filming safe tourism video’s with the Pixel Asia team.

All photos taken by Anas Madeira, Shella Smith and Avanti Morisco from Timor Unearthed