On Saturday September 17, 2016, Kesengsem Lasem Community worked together with Kelompok Sadar Wisata (tourism awareness community) in conducting Learning Clinic #2, a discussion forum that revolved around the theme of public relations with central topics that consisted of Branding, Marketing, and Customer Service.
The material was delivered by Alicia Irzanova, a public relation practitioner of a state-owned company that engages in the fields of oil and gas. Despite her profession in the oil and gas company, the material that was covered in the discussion touched on the topic of developing a tourism site, especially in Lasem.
The event was held at Rumah Merah Tiongkok Kecil Heritage (Little China Heritage House) and was attended by 25 people from wide ranging communities. The class began with a material demonstration and continued on with some workshopping in which participants were challenged to create a public-relation activity and a concept of tourism package in Lasem. The participants worked in groups and clearly demonstrated much enthusiasm throughout the event, especially during the group presentations, which were very lively as they threw questions and chuckled. Gus Zaim, the chief of Kauman Karangturi Lasem Islamic Boarding House, came along with his students to the event.
During the discussion, Alicia highlighted some crucial points regarding the development of tourism in Lasem. “Lasem is, indeed, rich in history. It’s just that it hasn’t been developed and managed. Some of the town’s historical sites, such as Lawang Ombo, remain entirely undeveloped,” she said, having visited the Rumah Candu Lawang Ombo (Lawang Ombo Opium House) in Soditan.
However, she left a side note with an optimistic voice, “Lasem has the potentials to thrive as a major tourism site. It’s just that it needs to rally funds and support from various communities. What Kesengsem Lasem Community has been doing on social media and in Lasem is a good start. But we have to bear in mind that the most important part of tourism promotion is to keep the promise to the tourists. Oftentimes tourists, inspired to visit Lasem by photos circulating on social media, end up disappointed because the actual place isn’t as good as it is in the photo.”
Furthermore, Alicia stressed that the impression that tourists have of Lasem will come not only from what they see but also from the experience that they feel. According to her, tourism sites that have become known world-wide always give a particular experience to tourists, besides the beauty of the place itself. She added that the community has to also consider unleashing the potentials to offer such an ‘unforgettable’ experience that tourists will have when visiting Lasem.
“For example, if we want to ‘sell’ a sense of history, we have to create an atmosphere that will enable tourists to feel like they go back in time, seeing and feeling events that took place in that distant past. We can do it at Rumah Candu, for instance,” she remarked.
Arriving on September 17, 2016 at 2AM, Alicia soon had to head over back to Makassar where she works, departing at 8PM. “I’ll come back to Lasem,” she uttered before saying goodbye to the participants and the committee.
Download the Learning Clinic #2 material HERE.