One of the principal constraints in the tourism industry in Timor-Leste is the lack of properly managed accommodation facilities in the districts – discouraging tourists from staying overnight or extending their visits to tourism sites across the country.
Stimulating business investment in hospitality services, improving skills and service quality, as well as tourism infrastructure bottlenecks are essential. The partnership with Balibó House Trust is helping address this constraint through their long history of engagement with the community in Balibo their investment in the construction of an international standard hotel within the premises of a famous Portuguese era fort in the town of Balibó.
The Balibó Fort Hotel, which opened in March 2015, will attract more tourists to visit the area and provide them with the option of staying overnight or stay longer and enjoy services and activities offered around Balibó.
As more tourists come to the area for longer durations, there are greater income generating opportunities centred on transactions of goods and services such as food, souvenirs and tour guides. The hotel and associated enterprises also allow for alternative avenues for employment in the area and the hotel has already employed 19 local staff from the area and through the partnership with MDF they are being trained in hospitality and tourism. The partnership with MDF is also focussing on extending facilities to include a conference centre to ensure that the venue has full occupancy during the quieter, midweek period.