Timor-Leste is a diverse country that has retained its originality in many places. Its cultural and scenic charms inspire again and again. In recent years, a tourist infrastructure has slowly developed in the country. Eco-tourism is playing an increasingly important role in this. On the island of Atauro, communities have organized themselves in the Grupu Turizmu Ataúro. The first tour operators in Germany have included Timor-Leste in their program. There are special offers for diving, hiking and trekking tours.
The government is working on a tourism policy and has allocated 7.4 million US dollars in the budget (2016) to develop the sector. In March 2018, a state tourism information center was opened in Dili. To promote maritime tourism, the Ministry of Tourism has organized the “Darwin Dili Yacht Rally” every year since 2012, which also includes the Sail Timor-Leste Festival. The five-day international mountain bike race “Tour de Timor” has been taking place in September since 2009. Another international sports festival is the “Dili International Marathon” every October. The three-day Festival of Culture Ramelau and the Festa Muzika are all about music and culture.
Independence Day: May 20, 2002
Head of state: Francisco Guterres (Lu-Olo)
Head of government: José Maria Vasconcelos (Taur Matan Ruak)
Political system: Parliamentary-democratic republic
Democracy Status Index (BTI): Rank 32 (of 137) (2020)
Corruption Index (CPI): Rank 93 (of 180) (2019)
Proportion of literate adults: 58.3% (2018)
Major religion: Catholics 97.6%
Urban population: 31.3% (2020)
Life expectancy (female / male): 71.1 / 67.4 (2018)
Gender Inequality Index: not specified
Number of births: 4.4 / woman (2020, estimated)
Infant mortality: 42.4 / 1000 (2018)
Social and Economic Development
The expenditure-oriented economic policy had led to a certain optimism in the country. According to philosophynearby, Timor-Leste experienced modest economic growth.
The challenges lie in reducing the dependence on oil and gas revenues, promoting economic diversity and creating jobs, as well as fighting corruption and unequal social development to counteract. It is also important to counteract the dependence of economic activities on the state budget by investing in the productive sector. Any delay in the annual approval of the state budget has a huge impact on businesses, unemployment, purchasing power and inflation. The political stalemate in 2017-2018 is likely to have cost the economy around $ 350 million in lost economic activity in the two years, and GDP will not exceed the level of 2016 before the recession until 2020, the World Bank concluded at the end of 2019. The renewed political stalemate attached At the beginning of 2020, triggered by the non-adoption of the budget, as well as the consequences of the lockdown during the corona pandemic, this forecast is a long way off.
The country has managed to contain the virus effectively, but the economic and social consequences are significant. The GDP forecast for 2020 is -4 percent. Many people have lost their livelihood. In the 2020 world hunger index, the country ranks next to last. The government is endeavoring to help the population with a social assistance program, and it has presented a comprehensive economic recovery plan. Economic recovery measures are also intended to respond to structural weaknesses in agriculture, tourism, housing, education, health, social protection and institutional reforms.
The programs of the governments in the respective legislative periods provide information about the identified tasks and goals in social and economic development. The government’s goal is to lower unemployment below 10% by 2022 by strengthening and diversifying the economy within the framework of a social market economy. The improvement of the quality of life is a prerequisite for the consolidation of peace, stability and social cohesion.
Telecommunications, internet and postal services
Timor-Leste’s phone book is thin: there are just 2,206 landline connections (as of 2018) and the number is stagnating. Only a few private households have a connection, many of them ‘international’. The remaining connections are distributed among government, business, United Nations institutions as well as embassies, churches and schools.
But the mobile phone is booming. Over half of the population are now mobile. There are now more than 1.5 million mobile phone connections (3rd quarter of 2018). Many customers have more than one number and only around 500,000 customers of the three operators are active. In 2009 there were 133,594 users, in 2007 around 60,000 people had a mobile connection.
The telecommunications market got in motion in 2013. In March 2012, the government lifted the monopoly of the Portuguese telecom subsidiary Timor Telecom and issued licenses to Telin (PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia International) and Viettel, Vietnam’s state-owned and largest mobile network provider, after a tender. Telin offers its services in Timor-Leste as Telkomcel, Viettel’s company is called Telemor. The competition among providers has mixed up the market and increased the number of cell phone users.
Due to the high prices, only 250,000 of the 1.5 million mobile phone numbers are subscribers in the 3G or 4G mobile network. According to the operator, the “exorbitant” prices for a low-speed service are due to the fact that the Timorese government has not opted for an international fiber optic cable. This makes it impossible to improve quality, speed and prices. One solution would be a connection by land or water to the Indonesian half of the island, which would cost around US $ 5 million.
Since 2012 there has been a zone for free Wi-Fi access in Dili on the east bank promenade in the Park Lago de Lecidere. In 2017, more public spaces were added in the capital, including a high-speed Internet connection at President Nicolau Lobato International Airport and at the Timor Plaza shopping center.
In April 2000, East Timor’s post office opened. In June 2013, the new post office in Dili, financed by South Korea and compliant with international postal standards, was inaugurated. There are a total of 8 post offices in the country.