Budget funding cuts to Timor-Leste’s tourism sector set to continue a trend of disregard for basic infrastructure Featured

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By : Oki & Sally Rummery

Tempotimor (Dili) -Changes to budget funding in Timor-Leste’s tourism sector have halted the industry’s development progress of basic amenities in tourist areas, with the government instead concentrating on large scale projects.

Timor Plaza’s general manager, Tony Jape is advising the government to address the small changes needed to continue the development of Timor’s tourism industry, saying that the focus should be on the future. 

“Tourists won’t just appear; we need to focus on expanding our investments now to meet a long-term goal of five or ten years”. 

He says that while the government has made some positive changes by improving roads to tourist destinations such as Baucau, Maubisse (Ainaro) and Sua (Covalima), there needs to be more attention placed on the destinations themselves.

“On a recent trip to Maubisse we had no access to clean water because of issues with the water pipeline. There needs to be a balance in the development of infrastructure, we can’t just focus on large scale projects while basic operations are being overlooked,” Said Tony.

Timor-Leste’s 2019 economic report, released in April, saw the demise of the 1/12 budget formerly being used to finance state activities. According to The Diplomat this is the process by which the Budget and Financial Management Law allows spending to continue according to a duodecimal system- 1/12th of the previous year’s budget line each month. Under the new financing system, the government in power will be able to begin implementing their own agenda.

Current government policy is hoping to reach targets of hosting an estimated sustainable potential of 450,000 travelers each year to ensure effective and efficient economic growth for the tourism secto 

However, the government is yet to oversee the implementation of detailed plans of specific actions required to promote the development of tourism.

Large scale projects such as the development of the Dili Marina and the rehabilitation of coastline between it and Avenida Portugal are left incomplete with the oversight of basic amenities like clean water and toilets.

Tourists visiting the Cristo Rei area, having come ashore off a cruise complained of a lack in essential facilities, saying a lot of the amenities were either damaged or non-existent. 

One man said they had no access to garbage bins and toilets during their visit.

“All the facilities were damaged and there was no water in the toilets, so we cannot go to the bathroom. Everything smelt and there were no garbage bins for our rubbish” he explained.

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Last modified on Thursday, 08 August 2019 11:10
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