Timor-Leste’s Prime Minister Rui Maria de Araujo is calling for foreign investment in tourism to boost its contributions to the economy alongside agriculture and oil and gas industries.

In an interview granted to a Vietnam News Agency correspondent on July 23, the PM said developing tourism is vital to helping the country diversify its economy and reduce the dependence on oil-related revenue, he said.

As a young nation that gained independence in 2002, Timor-Leste has poor infrastructure and over 30 percent of its population living in poverty. The country’s economy depends heavily on oil exports which bring home about seven billion USD per year.

Though the island nation boasts unspoiled natural beauty, local facilities are only capable of accommodating a few thousand travellers every year, the PM said, conceding that this is one of the country’s biggest challenges to boosting the tourism sector.

He added that the Timor Leste Government hopes foreign investment will help address this problem.

According to the PM, Timor-Leste is seeking investment with the focus on community tourism, eco-tourism and cultural tourism.

It has been working to train human resources in the field and complete legal frameworks and incentive policies to welcome more investors.

In addition, the nation is also focused on developing clean agriculture with coffee remaining as a key product.-VNA