(FEATURE NEWS) Lacking Tourist at Moraya Fortress, Photographers and Merchants Complain

Editor: Mobile Team

Reporter: Maher Kambey

TONDANO (Gawai.co) – Moraya Fortress, which is one of the historical attractions in the city center of Tondano, seems to be empty of visitors lately. There are many factors, but among them, this place is empty of visitors due to the Covid-19 pandemic and local government regulations that make it less accessible.

Thursday (25/2) this morning I took the time to visit there, when I arrived at the location it felt a little different from before.

Before, almost every day this tourist location was filled with tourists, this time it felt very different. That afternoon it was clear that not a single visitor had come and entered the interior.

In fact, there are merchants there who all day open restaurant stalls, selling and the men wearing Kabasaran clothes along with photographers who are willing to wait for hours just to get customers. Either buy food, drink or take pictures with men wearing Minahasa clothes, namely Kabasaran or take pictures with manguni bird.

Further back, the more quiet atmosphere was felt. Usually when I visited this place before, many stalls were open, but this afternoon only one was open. The reason is clear, why? Because the entrance to Moraya Fort is closed. Not yet open to the public, aka limited.

Of course, with the imposition of such restrictions, many merchant stalls close.

I also met a merchant. In that brief conversation, Nindi, who sells food and drinks at that place, admitted that she was resigned to her current situation.

Nindi revealed that since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, there were very few visitors who came and never even came at all.

“Since the pandemic, there are very few visitors. Even before this, there have been no visitors at all for a while, of course this has a huge impact on our income, traders,” he told this media.

Not only that, Nindi said, with this condition, of course, it had an effect on their income which had greatly decreased like never before.

“Income has clearly decreased. Usually before the pandemic, you could get IDR 200,000 a day and that’s the least. If there are a lot of visitors, it’s even up to IDR 500 thousand to IDR IDR 1 million or more,” he explained.

He also added that at a time like this, he didn’t have much hope about the visitors who came. He saiding here, at 05.00 PM, all the visitors were dismissed by the Satpol-PP.

“Yes, now there are visitors coming but not as many as before, because the fence in front is always closed, so the visitors do not get inside. Not to mention at 05.00 pm all the visitors are dismissed by Satpol-PP,” he complained.

After telling the story with him, I moved to the front location of Moraya Fort and saw that in the right corner there were men wearing Kabasaran clothes and a photographer who was taking shelter under a tree hanging out with each other, because the sun was so hot.

When I was with them, I immediately greeted and joked with the men. However, with a sad heart seeing their situation, I also intend to take a photo together and later capture it.

One by one I asked how they were and how they were. Immediately, they complained about the current situation. Even one of the photographers answered loudly that the impact of the pandemic made his income decrease.

“Visitors are indeed lacking, the impact on income too. Just before the pandemic, many tourists were reluctant to be photographed, especially at this time, it was very lacking and almost none,” said the man who declined to be named.

The complaints of the merchants, photographers and those who are depends from this industry at that location also motivated me to pray for the current condition to recover as soon as possible. The Covid-19 case will be resolved immediately, the government is given wisdom to handle, the economy can recover, tourism can return to normal.

After taking a photo together and paying for the services of the photographer there, I asked to say goodbye and give them encouragement so that they can continue to live life with gratitude. I rushed to another location. (Maher Kambey)

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