National Tourism Policy Approved in Timor-Leste

Dili (Timor-Leste) - March 18, 2017 (travelindex.com) - The Government of Timor-Leste approved the National Tourism Policy, developed to provide the clear public policy framework needed to ensure effective, efficient and sustainable growth in Tourism, one of Timor-Leste’s five Priority Sectors for growth and economic diversification. Prime Minister, H.E. Dr. Rui Maria de Ara˙jo explained that the Tourism Policy for Timor-Leste entitled Growing Tourism to 2030 – Creating a Sense of National Identity “is a call to action for all stakeholders to work collectively towards achieving the true potential of our country as an international tourism destination.”

The policy document begins with a frank assessment of Timor-Leste’s current travel and tourism competitiveness across four areas: enabling environment, policy and enabling conditions, infrastructure, and natural and cultural resources. It then sets out a path for Timor-Leste’s tourism development emphasizing “sustainability, community, quality, and business competitiveness.”

The key headline goals of the Tourism Policy are that, by 2030:

- Revenue from overseas tourism, excluding carrier receipts (air fares and ferry charges) will be US$150 million per year (at 2016 prices i.e. adjusted for inflation between now and 2030).
- Employment in tourism will reach 15,000 (approximately 4,300 at present).
- 200,000 international tourists will visit Timor-Leste annually with an average stay of four ?days.

Five over arching themes guide the policy, an understood sense of purpose, commitment to improved prosperity, a spirit of stewardship focused on protection of the nation’s natural and cultural resources and visitor safety, partnership where all stakeholders have a voice and shared responsibility, and an acknowledgment that people are at the core and must acquire appropriate knowledge, skills and attitudes.

The policy then explores each of these five themes in detail setting out undertakings by the Government and complementary undertakings recommended for the Private Sector for optimal success. The philosophy behind the policy is that the development of the tourism sector should be small, gradual and sustainable to “maximize the positive impacts and mitigate potential negative influences of tourism” with success meaning that by 2030 “Timor-Leste will experience a significant increase in tourist visits and revenues that will have a multiplier effect across the economy, resulting in substantial income and opportunity for the nation and local communities.”

The Prime Minister said that in the coming months the Government will be developing a complementary implementation strategy and a detailed action plan to establish specific measures that will be implemented to promote tourism development in the months and years to come.

Spokesperson, Minister of State Agio Pereira, noted “the vision of a vibrant and attractive tourism sector, socially and environmentally sustainable and contributing significantly to employment throughout the country, is achievable. All have a role to play by embracing this vision and understanding the role Tourism will play to grow and diversify our economy and benefit our local communities. The National Tourism Policy sets the framework. Now by working collectively, collaboratively, step by step, and with energy and determination we will realize this ambition for our Nation.

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