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Economy, regional turmoil cast shadow on Valentine’s Day business

By Dana Al Emam - Feb 14,2014 - Last updated at Feb 14,2014

AMMAN — Flower vendors have “very low” sales expectations regarding this year’s Valentine’s Day due to economic hardships and regional turmoil, a sector leader said.

Chairman of the Amman Flowers Bourse Mazen Ghalayini told The Jordan Times that turmoil in the surrounding countries and hard economic circumstances signal a “weak” season.

“Many find it inappropriate to celebrate love while people in neighbouring countries are being killed,” he said, adding that having Valentine’s Day on a Friday could even decrease sales.

Ghalayini noted that customers mostly buy red roses on Valentine’s Day; however, red tulips or any other kind of red flowers could do.

“We imported more than enough flowers and roses for this occasion from Ethiopia, Ecuador and Kenya, in addition to local production,” he told The Jordan Times.

The average price of a rose is between 70 piasters and JD1, but during Valentine’s season it might reach JD6, according to Ghalayini, who noted that all international flower markets witness such price hikes because of high demand.

On the other hand, Shahd Abu Tayeh, who works at a flower shop in the Jubeiha neighbourhood north of Amman, said the shop has advertised a price reduction in local newspapers to encourage customers.

“Almost all customers buy balloons or gifts along with flowers; therefore we offer very affordable prices to enable them to draw smiles on the faces of their loved ones,” she said, expecting most flower shops to remain open all night this Thursday.

Florist Amjad Sharayaa said he is not expecting many customers although prices of flowers will only increase by JD2 each.

“The demand for flowers last Valentine’s Day was very weak,” he said, adding that this year he is not doing any external decorations of balloons or flowers for his shop.

Jordanians interviewed by The Jordan Times agreed on their preference to buy “more useful items” than flowers.

Ahmad Mulla, said he has been saving money for the past few months to buy his fiancée a golden bracelet on this occasion.

“This gift might be of more value for her,” he told The Jordan Times.

Also, Um Omar is expressing her love to her husband by buying him a necktie and perfume.

“Love should be celebrated all year long, but Valentine’s Day is a chance to do something special for the loved ones away from daily routine,” she said.

Suhaib Nashashibi, on the other hand, said he is inviting his parents out for dinner because he has “no one” to celebrate Valentine’s Day with.

A worker at a restaurant in Jabal Amman, Ibrahim Hassan, said many reservations have been made during the past few days for Friday.

“We are expecting many couples and families, although we had more reservations for this occasion last year,” he told The Jordan Times.

Observed every year on February 14, Valentine’s Day originated as a feast to honour one of several Christian martyrs, St. Valentine.

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