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In Mazar-i-Sharif, market bearish ahead of Nawroz

In Mazar-i-Sharif, market bearish ahead of Nawroz

Mar 20, 2017 - 18:10

MAZAR-I-SHARIF (Pajhwok): Small businesses generally see a boost with the arrival of Nawroz -- new solar yearinfo-icon -- in Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of northern Balkh province, but not this year.

People stream to the city from different parts of the country to celebrate the occasion. But the number of visitors this year looks lower. New solar year begins on March 21.

Fewer visitors have affected businesses, including hotels, in the city. A number of small business owners from other provinces also offered their products for sale in Mazar-I-Sharif this year.

Small businesspeople selling rings, eyeglasses, necklaces, handkerchiefs and other items on roads expected tremendous sales -- and incomes at that -- this solar year.

Mohammad Hassan, an eyeglass seller, told Pajhwok Afghan News his sales had increased in recent days. But the number of his customers was lower than past years.

“In the years past, Mazar-i-Sharif would burst at the seams in Nawroz days when businesses tend to be bullish. However, the number of visitors this year is very limited and we should not expect more sales.”

Sifatullah, 32, said he travelled from his native Nangarhar province to Mazar-i-Sharif for business ahead of the festival. He sells toys at the side of the road. But his business is not good this time around.

Crowds of visitors represent lucrative business for hotels. However, hoteliers also complain their business is bearish.

Najibullah, manager of the Gang Restaurant in Mazar-I-Sharif, said their customers usually increased with the arrival of Nawroz, but they had limited customers this year. People, in the past, would make a beeline for rooms from March 5, but this year there is no such rush.

“Tomorrow is the Nawroz Festival but we have several rooms empty in our hotel; it is unlike past years,” he remarked.

Mayor Nasir Ahmad Aini observed crowds naturally lent business activities a boost. However, he confirmed the number of visitors was limited compared to past years.

While hoping that more people would arrive in the city in the next two days, the mayor recalled more than a million people had celebrated the festival in Mazar-i-Shari last year.

Munir Farhad, the governor’s spokesman, believed insecurity in the northern zone might be one of the reasons for the falling number of visitors to Mazar-i-Sharif this year.

Tomorrow (March 21) is the first day of New Year (Nawroz) festival. Thousands of people would raise the traditional flag at Hazrat Ali Shrine formal the main ceremonies.

Some senior government officials also participate in the flag-hoisting ceremony. However, Munir Farhad had no idea about the senior officials would participate in the event.


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