Monday, June 30, 2008

Identifying Marine Ecotourism Opportunities in Timor-Leste

Aerial View of Timor Leste's coastline

Media Release: 26.06.08
Identifying Marine Ecotourism Opportunities in Timor-Leste
The Department of Natural Resources, Environment and The Arts (NRETA) Marine Biodiversity Group are conducting regular aerial surveys of Timor-Leste’s coastal waters in partnership with the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) to identify potential marine ecotourism opportunities in the region.
NRETA wildlife officer Ray Chatto and marine scientists Dr Scott Whiting and Dr Kiki Dethmers are undertaking monthly aerial surveys of large marine fauna in the coastal waters of Timor-Leste throughout 2008, with the third field trip taking place early last week.
“The aerial wildlife surveys are designed to look for the occurrence of whale sharks, large sharks, whales, dolphins, dugongs, crocodiles and turtles in the area,” Mr Chatto said.
“Each field trip takes place over two days – the first day we conduct aerial surveys from a small fixed wing aircraft and the second day we undertake boat-based surveys to get a closer look.”
AIMS scientist and Project Leader, Dr Mark Meekan said the project is primarily focussed on identifying sustainable, coastal and marine ecotourism opportunities for the developing country.
“Over the last 20 years ecotourism that enables people to interact with large marine fauna, from whale watching to snorkelling with large sharks, such as the giant whale sharks, has become increasingly popular, in fact, marine ecotourism has become one of the world’s fastest growing marine industries,” Dr Meekan said.
“Importantly, for developing countries, marine ecotourism provides significant flow-on effects to local communities and economies where few alternative sources of income exist.
“The really good news is that the ocean current systems that surround Timor-Leste are well known as a migration pathway for many species of large marine fauna.
“The monthly aerial surveys by NRETA, combined with satellite remote sensing data will help us determine where the marine fauna may occur on a regular basis, and whether development of a regional industry based on ecotourism is a possibility.”
The project is being undertaken in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) in Timor-Leste and is one of six Government of Timor-Leste funded collaborative, coastal and marine projects being undertaken by Territory scientists to support sustainable regional economic development of coastal industries such as ecotourism, aquaculture and fisheries.
Mr Chatto said the research, planning and training projects are also focussed on building Timor-Leste’s capacity in coastal and marine science and management,
“One of the outcomes of this particular project is training Timorese staff from MAFF to undertake aerial wildlife surveys in the region,” Mr Chatto said.
“East Timor’s Government recognises the value of its natural resources and biodiversity and have sought the Northern Territory’s assistance to ensure that these natural marine resources maintain their value and are used in a sustainable way.”
Media Note – for more information contact Ray Chatto on 8920 9260 or Mark Meekan on 8920 9240

Friday, June 20, 2008

Good News!

Up until now, the only flights to and from Timor-Leste have been Dili-Bali and Dili-Darwin. Now, the first direct flight to Singapore is due to start operating. See below for the official announcement from Austasia Airlines:


For Immediate Release


Dili, 18 June 2008… Recently the President of Timor-Leste announced that direct flights to Dili will soon commence from Singapore. Under the management of Austasia Airlines, a Singapore delegation is present in Dili to conduct an operational study of Dili Airport facilities. The satisfactory result of the investigation of airport facilities will result in the flight proceeding in July. Final approvals will be issued when the Singapore Delegation submits its report to the company’s head office next week in Singapore. Operations in Dili will be managed by Austasia Airlines who are in the process of establishing facilities to manage the flight. The company is also required to provide certain information to the Director General of Civil Aviation of Timor-Leste before commencing.

The inaugural flight is proposed for Tuesday, 22 July 2008. In August the flights will increase to two flights per week, Tuesday and Friday. In November the airline will increase the frequency to three flights per week operating on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

The flights will operate with an Airbus A319 fitted with 12 business class and 106 economy class seats and offer a high standard of service with international cuisine. The 4 hour flight has been schedule to connect with inbound and outbound connections with most international ports and the flight schedule is as follows:
SIN / DIL 09:20 / 14:15
DIL / SIN 15:25 / 18:10

The airline will release special fares to appointed international wholesale agents to develop package holidays to Timor-Leste for less than US$1,000 including airfares, 7 nights’ accommodation and airport transfers. Future holiday packages will also be made available for the period of November onwards for 3 nights and 4 days.

The airline will be making conscious efforts to develop tourism into Dili working closely in conjunction with the Minister of Tourism and his staff. Strong interest has already been received by overseas agents for diving, fishing and adventure tourism. Minister of Tourism, Gil Alves said “I am pleased with the proposals to develop tourism packages to Timor-Leste which would assist all hotel and tourism operators and his department would actively assist the airline”.

Airfares will range from US$ 345.00 per sector excluding taxes and special low cost fares will also be introduced for early-bird bookings, ranging from US$ 250.00 per sector. Only e-tickets will be issued for these flights.

The Minister of Development, Joao Goncalves stated that “The advent of the Singapore flight will result in influx of Asian businessmen interested in investing in Timor-Leste, this will be good for our country’s economic development and the job opportunities that will be created for our people”.

For further information, please contact :
Andisuari Dewi
Marketing Manager
M : +670.7301180
E :


Untuk Disiarkan Segera


Dili, 18 June 2008… Melanjut pengumuman resmi dari Presiden Timor-Leste beberapa minggu yang lalu perihal penerbangan langsung dari Singapore ke Dili dalam waktu dekat, dibawah manajemen Austasia Airlines, sebuah delegasi dari Singapura saat ini sedang berada di Dili untuk melakukan observasi fasilitas operational dari airport Dili. Hasil observasi tersebut akan menjadi dasar dilakukan penerbangan mulai bulan Juli mendatang. Ijin penerbangan akan dikeluarkan setelah delegasi dari Singapura menyerahkan hasil observasi kepada kantor pusat di Singapura minggu depan. Penerbangan ini akan dikelola oleh Austasia Airlines, yang juga sedang mempersiapkan segala keperluan agar penerbangan dapat berjalan dengan lancar. Perusahaan penerbangan tetap harus menyerahkan dokumen-dokumen pelengkap kepada Direktur General Penerbangan Timor-Leste sebelum melakukan penerbangan tersebut.

Penerbangan perdana direncanakan pada hari Selasa tanggal 22 Juli 2008. Pada bulan Agustus penerbangan langsung tersebut akan ditingkatkan menjadi 2 kali seminggu yaitu pada hari Selasa dan Jumat. Berikut pada bulan November penerbangan akan ditingkatkan menjadi 3 kali seminggu yaitu pada hari Selasa, Kamis and Sabtu.

Penerbangan akan menggunakan pesawat Airbus 319 dengan kapasitas tempat duduk 12 kelas bisnis dan 106 kelas ekonomi dan menawarkan pelayanan tingkat internasional. Penerbangan langung yang memerlukan 4 jam dari Singapura ke Dili telah dijadwalkan sedemikian rupa sehingga dapat koneksi ke berbagai negara-negara di belahan dunia dapat dilakukan dengan lancar. Adapun jadwal penerbangan sebagai berikut :
SIN / DIL 09:20 / 14:15
DIL / SIN 15:25 / 18:10

Austasia Airlines akan memberikan harga tiket murah kepada beberapa agen wholesale untuk membuat paket berlibur ke Timor-Leste dengan harga dibawah US$1,000. Paket ini sudah termasuk tiket, akomodasi selama 7 malam dan antar-jemput ke bandara. Paket-paket lainnya untuk menginap selama 3 malam/4 hari akan tersedia untuk bulan Nomember dan selanjutnya.

Perusahaan penerbangan ini akan membantu mengembangkan industri pariwisata bekerjasama dengan Kementerian Pariwisata. Rute baru ini telah dilirik oleh biro perjalanan di seluruh dunia karena daya tarik Timor-Leste yang menawakan berwisata diving, fishing dan adventure. Menteri Pariwisata, Gil Alves mengatakan “Saya menerima dengan sangat terbuka proposal yang telah diajukan dalam usaha meningkatkan industri pariwisata dan usaha yang dilakukan akan memberikan

keuntungan dalam mengembangkan akomodasi serta perusahaan wisata lainnya. Kementrian Pariwisata akan mendukung usaha perusahaan penerbangan ini”.

Harga tiket berkisar US$345.00 per sector (one way) dan tidak termasuk pajak penerbangan. Harga tiket murah juga akan diperkenalkan bagi mereka yang memesan tiket lebih awal. Perusahaan penerbangan ini juga memperkenalkan system e-tiket kepada masyarakan Timor-Leste.

Mentri Pembangun, Joao Goncalves mengatakan “Hasil penerbangan dari Singapore ini akan mengundang investor-investor dari Asia untuk menamankan modal mereka di Timor-Leste. Hal ini sangat membantu dalam meningkatkan perkembangan perekonomian Negara dan akan membuk lapangan pekerjaan bagi masyarakat Timor-Leste”.

Untuk informasi lebih lanjut, silahkan menghubungi :
Andisuari Dewi
Marketing Manager
M : +670.7301180
E :


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Miss World Australia chooses Timor-Leste as her favourite place

Miss World Australia, Caroline Pemberton, meets Timor-Leste's President, Jose Ramos Horta

Caroline Pemberton, who won the Miss World Australia title in 2007, is a sponsor of the orphanage at Baguia in Timor Leste's Baucau District, which she visited for the first time soon after she was crowned. When she was approached by 9 network's flagship travel programme, "Getaway" to present a segment on her favourite place in the world, she chose Baguia and returned to Timor Leste with the film crew on May 31st, 2008.

Caroline and the Getaway crew receive a traditional smiling welcome at the Baguia orphanage

The National Directorate of Tourism hosted her visit, with accommodation at the Discovery Hotel in Dili and the Pousada in Baucau. Caroline was also invited to a dinner at the beachside Victoria Restaurant in Dili as a guest of Mr Gil Alves, the Minister of Tourism, Commerce and Industry. The Minister of Infrastructure, Mr Pedro Lay and the Minister of Health, Mr Nelson Martins were also present at the party.

Caroline at dinner with the Minister of Tourism, Commerce and Industry, Gil Alves (at head of table), Minister of Infrastructure, Mr Pedro Lay (blue shirt) and Health Minister Nelson Martins

The Getaway crew receive gifts made from traditional tais fabric from the Alola Foundation gift shop and pose for a final photo with the Ministers and National Director of Tourism, Mr Miguel Lobato
In front of the camera for a change: some of Dili's local photojournalists pose for photos with Caroline

The next morning, Caroline and the film crew travelled to Baucau to visit the orphanage, and she also met Timor Leste's President, Jose Ramos Horta on her return to Dili.

Caroline was thrilled to be back in Timor Leste. She said that she loves the country and hopes to come back again on holiday to explore the rest of the country and try scuba diving on our pristine coral reefs.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Meet the Directorate of Tourism at " 2008"

We will have a stand at " 2008", MTCI's Expo to celebrate Restoration of Independence Day. We'll be showing our new underwater film and all are welcome to stop by to talk tourism with us. We hope to see you there.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The "Tais" - traditional Timorese weavings

Every district of Timor Leste has its own "tais" pattern. These textiles are still made by hand and are used for several different purposes. Traditionally, they are worn in the same way as a sarong. But nowadays, some of the handicraft shops are branching out to make all kinds of things with tais - everything from laptop bags to picture frames to book covers. They also make great cushion covers, bedspreads, and tablecloths. Dili has a tais market where you can see the range of beautiful colours and designs that are available. (Photo copyright Marianne Woodward)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Arte Moris Press release: upcoming exhibitions




ARTE MORIS today announced its most impressive range of national and international exhibitions covering the three-months from April to June this year. Says Julianto Pereira, Director of the School, “our ‘ambassadors of Timorese art’ are travelling to Australia and Switzerland to present our work in a series of exhibitions, but as always the highlight will be exhibiting at home in the ‘Loos / Sim / Yes’ Independence exhibition in Hotel Timor in Dili, to mark the 6th anniversary of the restoration of Independence.”

The Dili exhibition will feature 50 new works, celebrating all the positive changes in the country since Independence - including the most important Freedom of Expression now enjoyed by artists such as themselves.

Pereira went on to remark that despite “the extreme difficulties of the last 24 months and the presence of an IDP camp in the school buildings, all of us were determined to carry on the work, to demonstrate our talent, enthusiasm and dedication, and to take the opportunity of these exhibitions to share our goodwill and passion for our country”.

The ‘Loos / Sim / Yes’ exhibition will be opened by the Secretary of State for Culture, Mr. Virgilio Smith, and the exhibition will open at 5.30pm on Monday May 19th at Hotel Timor.

The full calendar of events for this period is as follows:

19 May - (ongoing) DILI

‘LOOS / SIM / YES’ EXHIBITION OPENING on 19 May at 17.30

The exhibition is a collaboration with, and supported, by Hotel Timor and Fundaçao Oriente.

Exhibition of Artworks by Arte Moris Students opening on 28 May, 5pm at the Entertainment Centre on occasion of the Rotary International District 9550 Conference
Conference includes a presentation about Arte Moris Fine Art School on 3 May, at 11.45am, given by (Iliwatu) Julianto Pereira, (Azo) Ozorio Jeronimo, and (Xisto) Zito Soares Da Silva.
The exhibition will be opened by the NT Minister of Art and Museums.

Cultural Visit and Capacity Building
School of Creative Arts and Humanities,
Charles Darwin University
Etching Courses - Students to attend: (as above)

These events are sponsored by Rotary District 9550 and supported by Charles Darwin University.


Catholic Academy of Jesuit Mission and Cultural Visit

A dramatic exhibition on the development of Art in the young nation, presented by the Arte Moris Senior Students
· Alfeo Sanches Pereira
· (Abe) Avelino José Cancio da Silva

FILM SCREENING “A Passion for Culture”
A documentary by Casa Produçao Audiovisual, Taibessi in collaboration with Arte Moris (2008)

The events are in collaboration with Casa Produçao Audiovisual and sponsored by the Catholic Academy of the Jesuit Mission, with support from Friends of Arte Moris, Zurich.

For further information, please contact

Gabriela Gansser
Management Mentor

Free Art School and Cultural Centre
Rua dos Martires da Patria, Comoro
PO. Box 166, Correios Central, Dili, East Timor
Tel.: +670 723 3507

Monday, April 28, 2008

Joint Government-Private Sector Delegation at ADEX Scuba Diving Expo, Singapore

Press Release
Tourists ready to return to Timor Leste
There were encouraging signs that the country’s tourism industry is poised for recovery, as visitors crowded round the Timor Leste stand at the ADEX (Asia Dive Expo) in Singapore on April 18-20th. This trade show is considered to be one of the world’s most important for the industry, bringing together tour operators and country delegations from all over the world to present the latest trends in dive travel to the a public looking for the new destinations for dive holidays.
Antonio da Silva, leader of the Timor Leste delegation to the show, said that he was impressed by the enthusiasm shown by visitors to the stand, which featured underwater photos by Daniel Groshong (author of the photo book “Timor Leste: Land of Discovery”) and a short diving film by Dili-based underwater videographer Kym Smithies. The film, commissioned by the National Directorate of Tourism, had its premiere at ADEX and was played non-stop to visitors throughout the show. It featured a thrilling sequence showing a dugong - an endangered species of marine mammal, filmed recently near Metinaro. Spectacular images of Timor Leste’s superb coral reefs and wide variety of sea life drew dive enthusiasts to the stand, where they met industry representatives from Dive Timor Lorosae and FreeFlow dive centres, to receive information about dive holiday packages in this country. Some potential visitors said that they had been interested in coming to Timor Leste for some time, but had decided to wait until the security situation improved following the events of 2006.
According to Tourism Advisor Ann Turner, Timor Leste has enormous potential as a destination for adventure tours, whether land or sea-based.
“We have so many advantages. We are Asia’s newest country, with a rich and authentic culture. Our natural landscapes are a breathtakingly beautiful backdrop for trekking and our coral reefs offer some of the world’s best diving. In a world where almost no country is unexplored, visitors to Timor Leste can enjoy a rare and special adventure,” she said.
Although this country still faces some challenges in its tourism development, the National Directorate of Tourism is in the process of implementing a strategic plan throughout the districts to strengthen the growth of the industry, working to improve infrastructure, vocational training and promotion both at home and overseas. Tourism delegations will be attending trade shows on a regular basis, including PATA (Pacific and Asian Tourism Association) Trade Mart in India in September and the World Travel Market in London in November. In addition, a group of foreign journalists and tour operators is expected to visit Timor Leste later in the year on a promotional trip.
Whilst such promotional activity may not bring immediate results, it is important to start working to improve facilities now to ensure that tourists’ expectations are met.
“There is a very important role to be played in communities throughout the country to offer a smiling welcome to the tourists when they start to arrive. We would encourage all Timorese to take part in this exciting development, by making sure that their communities are kept clean and attractive, to preserve the environment on land and in the sea and to help to ensure the visitors’ personal safety,” said Miguel Lobato, National Director of Tourism. Lobato added that whilst visitors to Timor Leste are fascinated by the traditional village way of life, they can also play a part in preserving this cultural heritage by respecting local customs and the special sacred places that they are privileged to visit.
“If we offer the best possible experience to tourists, there will be rewards for all, especially our youth, in terms of employment, business opportunities and increased demand for local products. If we treat visitors well, more will follow,” Lobato added.
For further information, photos and interviews contact:
Antonio da Silva (Tetum)................ Ann Turner (English)
email: ..........

TETUM Language version

Press Release
Delegasaun conjunta Governo-Sector privado atende ADEX ( Asia Dive Expo) iha Singapore
Turistas prontu atu vijita fali Timor-Leste.
Industria turismo iha Timor-Leste komesa iha korezen ou sinal positifu katak komesa fila ba situasaun normal, Sinal ida ne’e ita bele hare wainhira vijitor barak maka mai iha Timor-Leste nia stand wainhira tuir Expojisaun mergulhu iha Singapura ADEX ( Asia Dive Expo 18 to 20 Abril 2008). Expojisaun ida ne’e konsidera hanesan importante liu iha mundo ba industria mergulhui nian, nebe lori Delegasaun e Gia Viagem sira hamutuk mai hosi mundo tomak hodi bele hatudu tren modelu ikus liu ba publico kona ba destinasaun paseio mergluhu nian.

Antonio da Silva, cordenador delegasaun Timor-Leste ba Evento ne’e hatete katak; hau sente urgulhu tebes ho antusiasmu hosi vijitor sira mai iha evento ne’e. Buat sira ne’e hotu tamba iha imagem mergulho nebe maka prepara husi Sr.Daniel Groshong (autor foto imagem “Timor Leste: land of Discovery” ho material promosaun seluk hanesan Filmagem mergulho nebe prepara husi Direcção Nacional do Turismo nebe foka husi Sra. Kym Smithies hanesan photogafera nebe hatudu kona ba riku soin tasi nian iha parte Metinaro, tasi tolu, Behau e nomos Dili. Visitors sira ne’e maioria hasoru malu ho representativos husi governu ( Direcçao Nacional do Turismo) homos representatif husi sector privadu liu-liu iha area mergulho nia hanesan: Dive Timor Loro Sae, ho Free flow hodi simu e atende ba programa pakote viagen nebe maka sei halao’o iha Timor Leste. Husi visitantes nebe potencial ba iha area ida ne’e hateten katak; sira intereses tebes atu visita Timor Leste ; maibe sira mos sei hein konaba mudansa situasaun iha ita nia rai laran depois de krisi 2006.
Tuir Asessora Turismo Timor Leste Sra. Ann Turner nia hateten; Timor Leste iha potencia bo’ot hanesan destinasaun foun ba viagen adventures hanesan husi rai leten nomos husi tasi nian.
“Ita iha aportunidade barak”, Timor-Leste hanesan nasaun nebe foun liu iha regiaun Asia nian, nebe riku ho autentico cultura. Ita nia pasagem rai nian nebe halo ema admira kona ba nian furak, e diak mos ba actividade lao ain ba fatin-fatin sira nebe interesante ho mos ita nia riku soin husi tasi laran hanesan ahu ruin oferese fatin nebe diak hodi halo mergulho( luku tasi) diak liu iha mundu. Iha mundu ida nebe maioria la iha nasaun nebe maka la explora, visitantes nebe mai Timor leste bele goja Timor Leste nia furak e special ba adventure” Ann hateten.
Mesmu nasaun ne’e sei hasoru difikuldade iha desenvolvimento iha area turismo, maibe Diresaun Nacional do Turismo iha ona prosesu nia laran atu implementa plano strategia ba iha distritos hotu hodi nune bele hametin no haburas industria ida ne’e iah futuru. Servisu nebe inportante maka hadia infrastructura, treinamento vokasional ho promosaun iha rai laran nomos iha rai liur. Delegasaun turismo sei atende expozisoes hanesan basis regular ida, Incluindo PATA Travel Mart iha India fulan Setembro 2008 ho world travel market nebe sei realija iha London iha fulan Novembro 2008, iha parte seluk, grupo jurnalistas estrangeiro ho operadores nebe relavan sei visita Timor Leste iha tinan ida ne’e hanesan viagem promosaun.
Mesmu actividades promosaun nia sei la fo resultado imidiatamentu, maibe importante tengki komesa hahu hodi hadia fasilidades, atu nune’e bele fasilita turistas sira ne’e.
Buat seluk nebe importante tebes atu comunidades iha nasaun ne’e tomak halao maka oinsa ita nia comunidades bele oferese” Bem Vimdo” ho hamnasa ba ita nia turistas sira baihira sira komesa to’o iha ita nia rai Doben Timor Leste. Ami sei encorage timor oan tomak hodi hola parte iha desenvolvemento ida ne’e, hanesan comunidades bele tau matan ba limpeja ho nafatin tau matan atu nune’e fatin sira ne’e sai atractivo ba bei-beik, atu preserva ba environmentu iha rai nomos iha tasi atu nune’e bele ajuda ba visitores konaba seguru pesoal; hateten Miguel Lobato, Director Nacional do Turismo.
Baihira ita iha posibilidade oferese buat nebe diak liu ba esperencia turistas, maka sei iha feedback ba buat sira ne’e hotu. Especial liu ba ita nia joven sira, iha termus campo de servisu, opurtunidade negosio ho hasae requijizasaun ba produtus lokal. Bainhira ita trata visitantes ho diak ita sei hetan tan buat seluk. Hateten Lobato.

Atu hatene liu tan informasauns, Photo ho intervius bele contacto:

Antonio da Silva ( Tetum ) Ann Turner ( English )
+ 670-7290816 + 670-7393879