Sustainable Cultural Tourism Project, March 2014

Rock Art in the Lautem District

The Tutuala region of the Lautem district of Timor Leste is home to one of the richest regions of rock art in island Southeast Asia.  With many of the sites found within the Nino Conis Satana National Park, the Timorese Government, working in conjunction with UNESCO and communities in Tutuala, are striving to preserve and promote this important heritage.  Many Hands International were invited to partner with the Secretariat for Art and Culture on the project  “The Protection and Promotion of Rock Art in the Lautem District”, undertaken in March 2014, because of our experience in research and project management in cultural heritage. 

MHI’s role in the project involved working directly with communities and traditional custodians to:
- Consult regarding public access to sites;
- Gather information and local stories that can be used for interpretative signage for the
rock art sites based on customary practices and oral traditions;
- Co-ordinate a two day workshop for key community members and stakeholders on
cultural tourism and preventative conservation in preparation for establishing and promoting rock art tourism in the area.
- Co-ordinate a one day rock art site visit with key community members and stakeholders.

Recommendations from the project's findings include:
-Ensure the tourism project remains in local control and operation
- Encourage high level collaboration and ongoing joint planning to maximise success and
to build trust within stakeholder relationships
- Know the limitations to the tourism project, particularly what sites the community are
willing to open up to the public at this point in time
- Ensure the tourism project is inclusive of the wider community, including women and
youth so the project engages the entire community and has far reaching benefits
- Invest in developing an effective tourism plan that strives for cultural, economical,
social and environmental sustainability
- Invest in training local community members in global languages and tourism related
activities so they engage professionally with visitors and better participate in the
industry and its benefits
- Invest in infrastructure development in the area, particularly in regards to the roads to
the sites
- Ensure the community knows the limitations to their tourism project and what they can
cater for and sustain
- Raise stakeholder and community awareness about the importance of sustainable
tourism through education, training and promotion of best practice
-Support communities around the sites to market their local products and support
initiatives that build on efforts to develop cultural assets in the region
- Invest in conservation and protection of the sites
- Engage the tourism industry by building awareness of the site, its policies and its
-Use local products where possible
- Use local crafts people and contractors where possible

MHI's report from the project workshop is available here.

Can't find what you're looking for? Try viewing the site map.

Please share Many Hands International on your social networks
Receive occasional news & information
Your Email: