After only three years of independence, the Democratic Republic of
Timor-Leste is set to join the World Tourism Organisation in order to
help it successfully develop its tourism industry.
After the ratification of the WTO's Statutes by the National Parliament last 11 November, followed by its publication in the Official Journal, the letter signed by the Prime
Minister Martine Perret of Timor-Leste requesting membership, was the final step taken by the authorities of the Asian country to conclude the membership process.
Timor-Leste is still undergoing a reconstruction and development process.
The recent past was difficult and hard, but in Timor-Leste we are all strongly confident and committed towards building a better future," said José Teixeira, the Secretary
of State for Tourism, Environment and Investment. "Tourism, the world's peace industry, will be one of our tools to ensure economic and social sustainable
development. Raising Timor-Leste's tourism to quality-level standards is our goal!"
Timor-Leste, the eastern part of the Timor island, is situated north-west of Darwin, Australia and borders Indonesia. Its tourism potentials include snorkelling and
scuba-diving in the clear ocean waters of the Timor sea, dolphin and whale watching, ornithology (bird watching), trekking and mountaineering and exploring cultural
treasures from the Portuguese colonial times in Dili and other towns.
Timor-Leste's membership in the WTO all the eight countries of the Portuguese-speaking community, namely, Angola, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique,
Sao Tome e Principe and Portugal will have a seat at the WTO General Assembly.
A letter from the Papuan Minister for Culture and Tourism David Basua was received by the WTO earlier this year, stating that "the Government of Papua New Guinea,
having taken cognizance of the Statutes of the World Tourism Organization, hereby formally declares that it adopts the said Statutes and accepts the obligations of
The requests will be presented to the WTO Executive Council in June in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, which will submit it to the forthcoming WTO General Assembly, to
be held in November 2005, in Senegal.
Apart from Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea, the United Kingdom and Republic of Belarus have informed the WTO about their intention to join the leading
international tourism body.
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