Confirmation of Candidature Presentation: Sustainable tourism and alternative livelihood development on Ataúro Island (Timor Leste), through pro-poor, community-based ecotourism

Confirmation of Candidature Presentation: Sustainable tourism and alternative livelihood development on Ataúro Island (Timor Leste), through pro-poor, community-based ecotourism

Fri, 13/12/2013 - 14:30


About the Presenter

Jose Quintas

José Filipe Dias Quintas was born in Lospalos (Laútem District), Timor Leste.  Educated in Timor Leste, in 2000, he undertook a Bachelor of Economics at Indonesia Cooperative Management Institute (Indonesia) (majoring in financial management).  In 2006 he received a Bachelor (Honours) degree in International Tourism Management, at the London Metropolitan University (United Kingdom). 

José Quintas started his professional career in tourism in 2002, as the Head of the Department of Tourism Policy, in the Secretary of State for Environment, Investment and Tourism, in Timor Leste.  In 2008, he was appointed the National Director of Tourism, in the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry.  In 2012, he became the Director-General of Tourism.

He is currently (on leave) undertaking a Masters program, by research, at the Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods at Charles Darwin University – focussing on community-based and pro-poor, tourism planning and development. He is one of several successful scholarship recipients in the education and training cooperation between Charles Darwin University and the Ministry of Education in Timor Leste


Venue

Charles Darwin University
Ellengowan Drive
Building Yellow 1.1.39
Casuarina NT 0810
Australia

As a fragile, post-conflict, developing nation, Timor Leste faces critical issues of poverty alleviation and human development (UNDP 2012).  With one of the world’s most oil-dependent economies, tourism has been identified a key national economic development priority by the Government of Timor Leste (RDTL 2011), particularly to address rural poverty, unemployment and community development.  Heavily dependent on its natural resources for tourism (UN World Tourism Organisation 2006), community-based tourism (CBT) and ‘pro-poor tourism’ (PPT) (Ashley et al. 2010) has been identified (and progressed) as a key strategic approach to tourism development in Timor Leste (RDTL-UNWTO-UNDP 2007).  Within this context, coastal and marine ecotourism in Timor Leste has been identified as major priority for short-term development (RDTL 2007), with several studies highlighting the potential tourism value of the coastal and marine environments (Basiuk 2006, Tibirica 2008, Edyvane et al. 2009, Dethmers et al. 2009).  However, key challenges remain in planning, developing and implementing CBT and PPT ecotourism in Timor Leste – including infrastructure, land tenure, investment, quality standards and related legislation, access (ie. roads), human resource development, institutional arrangements, public-private partnerships (PPPs) and ensuring tourism activities provide direct benefits to local coastal communities (RDTL 2008). 

While Timor Leste has developed a draft tourism strategy (NDT-UNWTO 2008), it remains to be finalised.  Despite the potential of coastal-marine ecotourism to generate significant incomes and alternative sustainable livelihoods - there remains a lack of published research on successfully developing and implementing sustainable CBT/PPT programs (especially in South East Asia) - particularly assessing community benefits/impacts, and identifying enabling conditions and effective governance. 

Atauro Island, off the north coast of Timor Leste, has been identified as major ecotourism destination. The island has a wide range of coastal-marine tourism values (ie. beaches, fishing opportunities, recognised diving sites, whale and dolphin watching), and significantly, a range of developing ecotourism and CBT/PPT projects, including diving, snorkelling, fishing and also, developing tourism infrastructure (including community ‘eco-lodge’, community guesthouses, private guesthouses) (Weaver 2008, Edyvane et al. 2009).   Despite this, recent land disputes have jeopardised some major community ventures, while tourism value chain analyses (Coimbra 2012), have highlighted the lack of a strategic approach to CBT development, lack of community input/participation, and a lack of regulations, planning and management.   

This research program will focus on identifying ‘success factors’ for developing and implementing sustainable CBT/PPT programs on Atauro Island.  Using techniques of participatory action research (PAR), coastal-marine CBT/PPT development issues will be critically examined on Atauro Island, including:

(i) identifying tourism programs, values and assets;

(ii) assessing the benefits/impacts of CBT/PPT to local communities;

(iii) assessing current CBT governance and benefit-sharing models; and (iv) reviewing currently  legislation, planning and management of CBT/PPT programs.

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