Melaka’s tourism future has turned into a joke

THE COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating on all economic sectors in Malaysia and around the world, but it has been especially hard on the tourism sector.

I work at a tour agency in Melaka and although I have been lucky to still have a job, the future doesn’t look very good as long as the Government doesn’t allow foreign tourists to come back here.

The only reason why I still have a job is because my employer has assigned me to make sure we’re fully prepared for the return of foreign tourists, which many hope can return to normal by next year with the COVID-19 vaccine.

But my bigger job is to prepare my tour agency to manage maybe three or four times more tourists as cruise ships will be stopping in Melaka by 2025.

This planning is more than just buying new buses and hiring staff. We also have to work with so many tourist spots to make sure they can cope with the extra tourists we bring there.

All this planning for the future is a lot of work, but I have to do much of it myself as we now have less staff and 16-hour days are normal because not all the work can be done online.

Working so hard for our future now looks pointless as it looks like the cruise ships won’t be coming anymore because the Melaka Gateway project looks like it will be taken over by the state government.

The contract to reclaim islands for the cruise ship terminal has been terminated because the state government said there was too long a delay by KAJ Development Sdn Bhd, failing to complete the reclamation within three years.

Everyone knows all work had to stop since Mar 18 because of the movement control order (MCO) for COVID-19. Because of the it, so many businesses lost money and lots of people then lost their jobs.

I was still busy working during the MCO, but unless it’s confirmed that cruise ships won’t stop in Melaka in 2025 as my tour agency has been planning for, I’m likely going to be out of a job by Chinese New Year 2021.

Many others I’ve been working with are also worried about their jobs if the Melaka Gateway project cease.

I don’t understand how the state government is making more people lose our jobs when all it needs to do is give KAJ Development more time to complete the island reclamation.

 

Faruq Shammudin

Ayer Keroh

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

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