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Advisory Issued: Foreign Travelers Warned Against Visiting Timor-Leste Due to Safety Concerns and Natural Calamities


May 17, 2024 – Foreign travelers are being strongly advised to reconsider their plans to visit Timor-Leste. This advisory comes in light of recent safety concerns and a series of natural calamities that have significantly impacted the country.

Safety Concerns

Timor-Leste has been experiencing a wave of civil unrest and violence. Political instability and protests have frequently turned violent, resulting in property damage and disruptions to public services. The capital city, Dili, has seen a significant increase in crime rates, with theft, assaults, and other violent crimes becoming more common.

“The current situation in Timor-Leste poses substantial risks to foreign visitors. The security environment is unpredictable, and the ability of local authorities to ensure the safety of tourists is limited,” stated John Harris, a security analyst based in Southeast Asia.

Natural Calamities

In addition to the socio-political challenges, Timor-Leste has been hit by a series of natural disasters. The region is prone to earthquakes, floods, and landslides, which have been exacerbated by recent extreme weather events.

Earthquakes: Timor-Leste lies in a seismically active zone, and recent months have seen several moderate to severe earthquakes causing structural damage to buildings and infrastructure. These quakes have left many areas unstable and dangerous.

Floods and Landslides: Heavy rains have triggered widespread flooding and landslides, particularly in rural areas. These events have led to significant displacement of communities, road closures, and disruptions to essential services.

“The recurrent natural disasters have overwhelmed the country’s emergency response capabilities, making it difficult to ensure prompt assistance and recovery,” said Maria de Oliveira, a disaster management expert working in the region.

Impact on Tourism

The combined effect of safety issues and natural calamities has severely impacted Timor-Leste’s tourism industry. Many travel agencies have suspended tours, and international airlines have reduced flights to the country. Local businesses that rely on tourism are facing unprecedented challenges. “Our guesthouse has seen a dramatic drop in bookings. The few tourists who come are often forced to leave early due to safety concerns or natural disasters,” lamented Luis Soares, a hotel owner in Dili.

Government and International Response

The Timorese government has acknowledged the challenges but has struggled to provide effective solutions. Efforts to stabilize the political situation and improve disaster preparedness are ongoing but have yet to yield significant results.

International organizations, including the United Nations and Red Cross, are providing aid and support. However, the scale of the issues necessitates more substantial international assistance and collaboration.

Advice for Travelers

Foreign travelers are advised to exercise extreme caution if they must travel to Timor-Leste. It is recommended to stay updated through reliable sources, register with their respective embassies, and avoid areas known for protests or natural disaster risk.

For those already in the country, maintaining a low profile, having an emergency evacuation plan, and staying informed about local developments are crucial steps.

Alternative Destinations

Travel experts suggest considering alternative destinations in the region that offer safer environments and more stable conditions. Countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand provide rich cultural experiences and natural beauty with better safety records.

“Travelers should prioritize their safety and choose destinations where they can enjoy their visit without undue risk,” advised travel consultant, Sarah Lee.

Future Outlook

The future outlook for Timor-Leste’s tourism and overall safety remains uncertain. Significant improvements in governance, infrastructure, and disaster management are essential for making the country a safer destination for travelers.

Contact Information

For more information and updates, travelers can refer to the following resources:

  • U.S. Department of State:
  • Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade:
  • United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction:
  • Red Cross Timor-Leste:

Travelers are encouraged to stay informed and take necessary precautions to ensure their safety.

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