Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Aussies told to forget Bali, try Timor

EAST Timor will one day rival Bali as a drawcard for Australian tourists, its Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao has claimed.
Speaking in Melbourne, Mr Gusmao declared his fledgling nation open for business, reports the Herald Sun.
He said drawing Australian tourists to East Timor would be another way of driving the economy forward.
Only a handful make the 90-minute flight from Darwin to East Timor each month, but new hotels, scuba-diving firms and the publication of a Lonely Planet travel guide had made the country more attractive as a destination.
"I believe that when Australians know our country they will prefer our country instead of Bali for example," Mr Gusmao said.
He conceded that his nation, Asia's poorest, did not have the infrastructure for large-scale tourism.
"We want to increase from 10 Australians a year to 100 a month," he said, adding that diving was a way forward.
"It is the cleanest water in the world, the most beautiful corals. What I saw there was the red fish (clown fish, made popular by the movie Finding Nemo). We too have Nemo."
Mr Gusmao yesterday met Premier John Brumby, who pledged $50,000 towards establishing a new building code in East Timor.
He also spoke at the Melbourne Business School's new Asia Pacific Centre for Leadership for Social Impact, which offers scholars. (

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