AMMAN — The occupancy rate at wedding venues currently stands at roughly 45 per cent, according to the Head of the Wedding Venues and Planning Businesses Association, Mamun Al Manaseer.

Summer season, often marked by graduation parties, engagements and weddings, is the sector’s most active period of the year, Manaseer told The Jordan Times.

“Wedding venues usually make the majority of their profits during the period between April and September, while demand the rest of year is mostly stagnant,” he added.

However, the occupancy rate between April and June 2023 did not exceed 10 per cent, although in previous years, occupancy rates hovered between 50 and 60 per cent during this period, he continued.

Manaseer attributed the decline to the “tough” economic situation, marked by inflation, rising interest rates and high unemployment levels among youth, causing many to delay marriage plans or get married at more modest private settings.

Manaseer also posited that the decrease could also be attributed to the growing market share held by private farms.

When only small gatherings were allowed during the COVID-19 pandemic, many people began organising weddings at private farms, he noted.

“Currently, all restrictions related to the pandemic have been lifted, but it seems that farm weddings have become trendy, although they’re more expensive than traditional wedding venues,” he added.

The majority of these farms are privately owned by individuals, and they are not usually licensed for weddings and celebrations, which means that their owners do not pay sales and income taxes or licensing fees, according to Manaseer.

He also noted that the electricity bills of private farms are also much lower than those of wedding venues because they are often located in rural, remote areas.

Moreover, Manaseer said that the sector’s losses during the pandemic’s lockdown period exceeded JD100 million, and around 46 wedding venues have permanently closed over the past three years.

Wedding venues’ current profits barely cover operational costs, as many are burdened by debts and accrued taxes, he said.

To help boost the sector, Manaseer suggested a reduction in licensing fees, even temporarily, and providing facilitative loans with lower interest rates to assist the sector’s recovery.

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