Timor Unearthed


Timor Unearthed creates opportunity through sustainable travel experiences. We aim to design programs to connect people and drive change. Our programs provide life changing opportunities for young Australians to increase their global awareness and for young Timorese to develop skills and share their culture. Our programs aim to promote the beauty of Timor-Leste's people and country. We want all our travelers to return home as informed advocates for sustainable travel in Timor-Leste.

Sustainable tourism development meets the needs of present travellers and host regions while protecting and enhancing opportunities for the future. It is envisaged as leading to management of all resources in such a way that economic, social and aesthetic needs can be fulfilled while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity and life support systems - World Tourism Organisation

Growing tourism in Timor-Leste! We see tourism as a mechanism for creating positive change. It is a critical time in the development of the tourism industry in Timor-Leste, with many challenges and opportunities.

Timor Unearthed operates guided by the frameworks set out by;

1. Timor-Leste's National Tourism Policy;

2. Timor-Leste's Strategic Development Plan 2011-2030; and

3. Steps To Sustainable Tourism Approach.

National Tourism Policy Timor-Leste


In 2017, the Timorese government approved the National Tourism Policy, which was developed to provide a clear framework needed to ensure effective, efficient, and sustainable growth in tourism. Tourism is one of Timor-Leste's five priority sectors for growth and economic diversification. This policy highlighted the importance of the tourism industry in the future development of the nation. Government, private sector, and civil society all have important roles in working towards a thriving tourism sector. As social enterprise Timor Unearthed is committed to operating towards achieving the goals of the private sector as set out in the National Tourism Policy.   

timor tourism plan.jpg


The Timor-Leste Strategic Development Plan is a twenty-year vision that reflects the aspirations of the Timorese people to create a prosperous and strong nation. Tourism is a key pillar of this development strategy. Timor-Leste’s natural beauty, rich history and cultural heritage there is great potential to develop tourism as a major industry to underpin economic development. A successful tourism industry will contribute income to the national and local economies, create jobs, build businesses and alleviate poverty.



Timor Unearthed operates guided by a framework developed by the Heritage and Tourism Section of The Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage. The Steps To Sustainable Tourism (STST) offers a step-by-step approach to foster partnerships and to achieve benefits for tourism and conservation interests. Conservation of our environment and heritage (including natural, historic and cultural places) as well as economic and community development are important sustainability goals. The STST approach endeavors to find a common language between conservation, management and a business approach. We have adapted this approach to fit the context of Timor-Leste.



The tourism sector is viewed as a priority pillar of the economic development that is embraced by government, the private sector and civil society.


  • Commit to placing tourism at the heart of national economic development by engaging with and supporting government initiatives.

  • Share widely this National Tourism Policy with partners, employees and business networks.

  • Commit to share, where appropriate, funding and resources as recommended by government aimed at tourism development and destination marketing.

  • Support and promote the proposed internal marketing campaign to staff, employees and investor communities and act as advocates and champions for change to enhance business confidence.

  • Contribute to the development, implementation, and updating of tourism strategies and action plans as active participants.



  • Travel experiences designed with a focus on educational tourism experiences;

  • Our travelers return home as advocates for sustainable travel in Timor-Leste; 

  • Guided by the frameworks in Timor-Leste National Tourism Policy and Strategic Development Plan;

  • Educate staff on National Tourism Policy; 

  • Regular marketing campaigns raising profile of tourism in Timor-Leste.



The tourism sector produces prosperity through linkage with local industries, delivery of employment opportunities, and the creation of small business ventures.


  • Support and promote the Timor-Leste country brand through commercial activities.

  • Capture market trends and accurate tourist data to provide to central government to inform strategic decision-making.

  • Support community-based entrepreneurs and cooperatives through funding or in-kind benefits that support and enhance the tourist experience.

  • Ensure that all tourism support services are delivered in a coordinated manner to optimise the tourist experience.

  • Commit to developing innovative products and strive to continually improve the quality and standards of service to world-class levels.


  • Homestay program contibuting to development of rural communities through sustainable tourism activities;

  • All-inclusive innovative and unique travel programs available;

  • High level of planning and detail in our tour programs with staff trained in tour guide skills to ensure high quality travel experiences;

  • Partnerships with small scale tour service providers.


The tourism sector is serviced by people that are trained and educated to internationally recognized standards to ensure a quality visitor experience.


  • Actively contribute to the on-going and continuous investment in human capital through education and training.

  • Commit to resourcing and funding career development of staff and employees through continuous professional development.

  • Commit to support government departments of vocational training and education to design and develop relevant education and skills training programmes for the tourism industry.

  • Provide senior and middle managers to act as mentors to local entrepreneurs to encourage new community-based ventures.​


  • Invest in the professional development of our staff through education and training. Find out more about our staff training modules;

  • Operate with a high staff to traveler ratio. This means we are maximizing the opportunities for our programs to provide experience and development to young Timorese;

  • We collaborate with many organizations in Timor-Leste to exchange skills and knowledge;

  • We include educational workshops and dining experiences at hospitality training centres.


The tourism sector is characterized by a range of public and private partnership arrangements  that simulate, develop and grow a diverse portfolio of tourism products and services.


  • Support the GOTL and actively contribute to strategy development and implementation of action plans.

  • Participate in destination marketing activities in partnership with the government departments in charge of tourism, arts and culture.

  • Support and actively participate in destination management organizations to support local community development.

  • Partner with the GOTL to explore opportunities in the management and operation of public assets


  • We are passionate and interested in tourism related policy and decision making and actively aim to support the Government of Timor-Leste's strategies and plans for development;

  • We work to continually strengthen our partnerships with organizations and businesses across Timor-Leste that share our vision.


The tourism sector supports the protection of the natural environment and unique cultural heritage of the country, ensures sustainable development and guaranteed duty of care of international visitors.


  • Commit to the conservation and preservation of the natural environment and ensure that new and existing developments minimise negative impacts and ensure that all developments are designed and operated in an environmentally sustainable manner.

  • Where appropriate place Timorese arts and culture at the heart of tourism offerings.

  • Commit to continual investment in staff development to ensure all tourism services are operating to the highest standards of safety and food hygiene.

  • Mandate that large-scale tourism development projects contain corporate social responsibility measures that contribute to environmental and social-economic benefit.

  • Disseminate the code of conduct of Do’s and Don’ts to guests and encourage ethical behaviour in visitors to Timor-Leste.


  • We ensure all our travelers are well prepared and aware of local customs, traditions and social conditions.

  • We are carbon neutral and offset all our emissions through WithOneSeed, an accredited carbon offsetting program in Timor-Leste;

  • We manage our waste responsibly and education our travelers on the importance of sustainable tourism practices;

  • Our Sustainability Coordinator, ensures we are operating to the highest environmental standards available in Timor-Leste;

  • We support environmental conservation organizations;

  • We provide training to our staff related to the principals of sustainable tourism and workplace health and safety.