MELAKA, Oct 15 – Although the Melaka Tourism Promotion Division recorded more than nine million tourists from January to June for Visit Melaka Year 2019, there are complaints from cultural heritage traders that sales have slumped.
Traditional Malay gasing (whipping top) maker, Remy Azizi Abdul Karim, 39, said sales have been deteriorating lately because tourists now are only interested in seeing its uniqueness rather than buying a gasing memento.
To overcome the problem, Remy, also known as Pendekar Gasing (gasing warrior), holds ‘busking gasing’ events and attends Beyblade (Japanese spinning top) competitions to revive and attract more interest in the old pastime.
“Alhamdulillah, sales are going up a bit compared to before. However, my intention is not just to get more sales, but to get more people to love playing the gasing,” said Remy from Pulau Sebang, Alor Gajah who has been making the gasing since he was 14 years old.
“Whenever I bring the traditional gasing to the Beyblade competitions, many of the younger generation made up of school students are mesmerised by it.
“It’s really sad learning that some have never seen a gasing before, perhaps due to lack of exposure,” he said.
Hamidah Food Industry director, Atiqah Liakatali, 34, from Merlimau, had a similar observation about the tourists.
“The number of tourists coming to the stall are many but they’re careful with their spending compared to before,” the dodol (a chewy coconut milk toffee) and snack food trader told Bernama.
She hopes the state government will help traditional kuih makers increase their income by finding them a market overseas like was done once before with China, besides focussing on attracting tourists.
Melaka Chief Minister, Adly Zahari, believes traders should find resourceful ways to make their products attractive to tourists.
“The job of the state government is to bring in more tourists and it is the responsibility of the tourism product traders themselves to figure out how to attract them to buy the products.
“Nevertheless, the state government is helping those in the industry discover new products that will make tourists want to come back to Melaka,” he said.