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)

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