Literacy, hospitality, and Labuan Bajo
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"What this place offers is more than astonishing, a piece of heaven with good hospitality", said a German tourist about Labuan Bajo, Indonesia.
Recently, I just had an opportunity to go to Labuan Bajo. I went there with the purpose of being a speaker for the Indonesia National Library Roadshow. The roadshow consists of two events which is a literacy competition for kindergarten-high school students and a talk show with Vice Regent of West Manggarai, a humanist, a journalist, book writer, and me. The National Library invited me because they consider me a young person with a high level of literacy and they hoped I could inspire youth in Labuan Bajo. After all, it's me that is inspired.
Many people said that Labuan Baju is a paradise and it is becoming Indonesia's tourism super priority city for 2019. For sure, I used this speaking invitation as an opportunity to explore as much of the city that I could, on what's seen and unseen.
My four day trip, was pretty full of activity. I'm glad I got the experience to travel as a jet-setter and backpacker at the same time. I got a chance to experience both local hospitality and a five-star international hotel.
I took an iconic trip on Labuan Bajo island hoping to four islands which are: 1) Padar Island, where you can hike to see the beautiful scenery of 3 beaches from the top of the hill, 2) Rinca Island where you can see the biggest dinosaur alive, the Komodo, 3) Manjarite Island where you can see sea diversity that you usually watch on TV, and last but not the least is 4) Kelor Island where in one side of island you can experience the white sand beach and on the other side you can do snorkeling to see beautiful fishes and corals.
It is indeed that beautiful scenery and place that makes my traveling lovely. However, it's not the only factor. Hospitality is important as well because it gives comfort and joy during the trip. In my opinion, good hospitality can be seen from even the small interactions with people. Traveling without interaction is impossible. Here are some examples.
When you go to see Komodo in Komodo Island or Rinca Island, you are assigned a park ranger. The ranger is there to assist you during the trip. It's important for your safety. They sets the boundaries for you. Since they will always be around you, they becomes your trekking companion. As a millennial who thinks that pictures are important, I was happy to see that my ranger understood that very well. He knew a photo technique that makes you look like you are touching a Komodo, but you are still in the safety range. He was very kind and accommodating as well. He explained the story about that island nicely. I'm sure his literacy skills helps his ability to communicate with tourists.
If you have limited time, I recommend going to a nice hotel to just chill and relax. Perhaps if you go to a five star hotel, you will have such a high expectation due to the value of money that you've spent. However, well-run places have a strong correlation with good literacy skills with the local people because they have a big role to run the hotel. When I went to one of the newest hotels in Labuan Bajo, I got a tour of their dreamy room. They could just blow me away with the view, but the communication skill of the staff and information about the hotel that is delivered made me more astonished.
Therefore, I'm so glad that National Library put special attention to Labuan Bajo. I believe that the improvement of tourism and literacy skills have a strong relationship. It is true that continuity is important for literacy.
Last but not the least, there's a story that I will never forget. On my last day on Labuan Bajo, I went to the harbor and accidentally met junior high school students who came to my talk show. Surprisingly, they still remembered me! On top of that, one of the students approached me on Instagram and said that my event was very helpful.
I'm so glad to leave the island with a positive vibe surrounding me. I hope the students will remember the message that was delivered in the talk show and apply it to their life. I can't wait to be back to Labuan Bajo someday and find the place that grows into a prettier place with the hands of the youth... It requires a lot of passionate youth with good literacy skills to make it happen.