MELAKA, Nov 1 — Each day at 9am, Farah Ashaari, 29, will open her food stall at the grounds of Taming Sari, which had been a tourist draw in Banda Hilir, here.

However, the number of visitors to her stall started to dwindle in September following the increase in Covid-19 positive cases, besides the enforcement of the conditional movement control order (CMCO) in Klang Valley, Putrajaya and Selangor, where a large number of tourists to Melaka had come from.

Farah said if her food stall was busy again with the arrival of visitors from all over the country during the recovery movement control order (RMCO) period, now although opened almost every day, her stall was almost deserted and like a ‘showpiece’ only at the tourist spot.

With the tabling of the National Budget 2021 this Friday, Farah hoped that more attention be given to the tourism sector, especially those industry players like herself as a small player, whose income had been much affected by the lack of visitors at the tourist spots.

“Previously, many came here but the situation is different now, especially on normal days. However, whether we like it or not, we still have to open our stalls here.

“Our hope is for the government to take new initiatives to revive the tourism sector, which is the main economic activity here,” she said.

Handicraft seller, Muhammad Ridzuan Khairudzin, 27, whose business at Pahlawan Walk is also affected by the pandemic, said sometimes it was even difficult for him to earn RM50 per day in sales due to the lack of visitors.

He said the situation was so different when inter-state travel was allowed again from mid-July with a sudden big increase in the number of visitors from all over the country, but things changed so quickly after the spike in Covid-19 cases and implementation of the CMCO again.

“I hope the government could find solutions to the problem, especially by curbing the viral infection well so that cases are under control for the economic activities to go on as usual,” he said.

Trishaw rider, Mohammad Sabree Ozainee, 45, hoped that with Budget 2021, the government could provide financial assistance or such for the self-employed like him in the B40 group.

“We hope the tourism sector in this state could sustain in this difficult time and hence, help the trishaw traders face the tough situation,” he said. — Bernama