Friday, June 22, 2007

BITE Day 2

Well, day 2 slacked off a little from opening day but Timor Leste's stand continued to draw curious visitors. Yesterday, I wore a tais around my neck whilst the Timorese representatives all wore sharp suits, tailored in Beijing, and were looking good. But not to be outdone by the malae, today the tais was much more in evidence. Star of the show was Timorese resident in Beijing, Simplicio Soares Pinto. He not only wore the tais, but also the crown and he carried a traditional sword. He wore it well. He goes to the gym. Young Chinese ladies flocked to the stand to pose for photos with Simplicio against the backdrop of a gorgeous photo of mountain scenery by Daniel Groshong, author of Discover Timor Leste (see link on this blog to order this lovely book). The government's Timor Leste Tourism CD rom was playing in the background (it has recently be updated and now features video). It also has traditional Timorese music in the background; Simplicio revealed a hidden talent for traditional dancing and before we knew it, visitors were joining us on the stand, trying on tais and learning a few steps. It was a party moment. Simplicio must have had his photo taken a hundred times - he should consider a career in modelling. Tomorrow, TVTL is coming to the show and all the Timorese will be wearing the tais. So look out for us on the telly. Will also post photos of all the fun when I get back to Dili.

Vicky Tchong from the Timor Leste Embassy handled most of the meetings with Chinese-speaking visitors. I will blog the highlights of Vicky's contacts after the show. I handled the English speakers, who were less in evidence today, but I did get a couple of leads.

Ye Ling Yuan of China Trade News was so impressed with our stand that she has decided to round up a group of friends and bring them to Timor Leste in October this year. ATTL members are encouraged to email her with details of land tours, etc. to help them to work out how to spend their time. Her address is

I also had a meeting with Karen Tian and Coco of Regent China Tours. They are already sending groups of Chinese tourists overseas - they even have an office in Florida. Like many of the visitors to our stand, she is not exactly sure what combination of tours, dive excursions and accommodation will work best for their company. She'd appreciate emails with sample itineraries, rate cards for hotels, etc. I think that it's really worthwhile to make early contact with companies like this to start developing some ties. Email Karen on or Coco on Regent China Tours has a website at

I also did a radio interview with Radio Beijing today with the editor of their English language learning section. It was a general chat about tourism and I managed to get plenty of information in the 5-minute segment about land and sea tourism, coffee farms, tais, big open spaces without crowds of tourists and the fact that Timor Leste is a new destination. This is likely to appeal to an emerging sector in the Chinese tourism market - those travellers who have already been to London, Paris, Rome, Sydney, etc and are ready to try some adventure. This type of traffic is growing and these tourists can afford to explore the world.

We received a lot of visitors who are selling future trade shows and various promotional services. The best of the bunch was Jason Mills of Exit Magazines, who specialises in preparing and placing destination promotional materials such as posters in travel agents, TV promos, magazine editorials, etc. It may be early days for us in terms of budget, but it might be worth looking into it to get a feel for what we can do later when we have the means. His email is and the website is

Tomorrow the show is open to the public. Should be interesting. I should get a t-shirt printed with "Head for north Australia and hang a left. You can't miss it".

Viva Timor Leste!
(to the right of Bali, facing north)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

BITE (Beijing International Tourism Expo) Day 1

Dear Members,
Greeting from Beijing.

The first day of the show kicked off with fireworks and a lot of fanfare. The Timor Leste stand was besieged for the first half of the day as visitors crowded round to get their "goody bags" containing booklets about Timor Leste prepared by the Embassy in Beijing. The Sagres Garden free key ring went down well.
Most frequently asked question: "Where is it??". It's still early days for us in this market. Many of the visitors to the stand were actually looking to sell holidays in China. If any members are interested in details, please email me and I will pass on your questions.
Another popular approach was from those selling advertising within China or offering agency representation.
For me, the pick of the day was from a Dutch travel agent, Mr A. Flach from Flach Travel Company. He arranges holidays for small groups (around 8 at a time) looking for adventure holidays. He would like to receive emails from:
Eco D
Vila Harmonia
Dive Timor Lorosae
and various hotels at different price levels.
He's looking for a combination of these companies to put together a sample package involving land tours, diviing and cultural activities for experienced travellers who have seen it all and want something new.
His website is:
He was really quite enthusiastic. Get in touch and sell him your wares. The company's motto is "When travelling is part of your life....". I reckon they're a good fit for Timor Leste.

Travel agent Li Ran operates from the Great Wall Sheraton in Beijing. She's interested in exploring the idea of selling packages to Timor Leste, and also in acting as Chinese agent for Timor Leste companies. Contact her on email: and

George Wei from Let's Discover The World! U-cafe, U-backpacker's club also showed some interest. Contact him at Website: He normally takes groups to Indonesia, especially Java and Malaysia but is looking for something new.

Star Shine Tours is involved in diving in the Red Sea. General Manager Mahmoud Fawzy would be happy to cross-market (I'll send you mine if your send me yours) with Dive centres in Timor Leste (Attention: Dive Timor Lorosae and FreeFlow). email and website

Advertising prospects for those wishing to enter the Chinese market:
Ali Wei from Shanghai Jinqi'ao Industries has proposed a scheme where you get advertising on local Chinese TV channels (CCTV - includes one English language channel) which links up to a call centre in China, which contacts a local agent who passes the bookings on to you in Timor Leste, on a commission basis. They have wide tourism experience but also could work with other types of business. Contact him on website

And finally:
Travel Abroad Online ( looks like a pretty good website specialising in worldwide travel for the independent tourist. Senior Customer Manager Lydian Rong says that the company will design a website in Chinese for you, and carry out regular updates ; this for a yearly fee of US$5980! Mind you, they get 1.200.000 hits per day... where would they all sleep in Dili? Explore this further with Lydian via email on

We took in about a hundred business cards all up at the Timor Leste stand and the Embassy staff did a number of press interviews. If you would like any further info or specific contacts, let me know by email.

Viva Timor Leste

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Join us at the next meeting

President: Gino Favaro Hp: +670 723 1058 V-President: Ann Turner Hp: +670 723 4614

V- President : Vicente Ximenes Hp: +670 7250374

Email: or


All tourism operators, hoteliers, bar and restaurant owners are invited to attend an ATTL meeting on

Thursday, 7th June 2007

4pm at Hotel Dili

Agenda will include:

  • ATTL representation at BITE Travel Trade Show in Beijing on June 20-23. ATTL will present promotional material on behalf of ALL members to overseas travel operators and journalists.
  • PATA Trade Mart in Bali, September 25-28th. Our opportunity to re-launch Timor Leste tourism for the 2008 season.
  • A chance to sign up as an ATTL member – to benefit from ATTL’s current and future initiatives to promote and support the tourism industry in Timor Leste, including internet listing for your business. If you would like your company details to be posted online FREE of charge, please email us for a membership form and bring it to the meeting.

Whether your business is big or small, join us to talk about the issues that affect tourism in Timor Leste. All are welcome.

Join the ATTL!

All hotels, restaurants, tour operators, dive centres and any other tourism-related businesses are eligible to join the ATTL. The membership year runs from July 1st 2007 to June 30th 2008 and membership dues are $50 per annum. All members are entitled to FREE internet listing and ATTL representation at trade shows. To receive your membership form, please email and fill it in with your company details as you would like them to appear online. Email it back to us or bring it with you to the next ATTL meeting together with your subscription fee.