Dubai's abrupt change on alcohol, U-turn on personal liquor licence: Here's why

Jan 02, 2023 12:42 PM IST

Dubai Alcohol Tax Rule: The abrupt New Year’s Day announcement was made by Dubai’s two state-linked alcohol retailers.

Dubai ended its 30% tax on alcohol sales making its required liquor licenses free to obtain, With this, Dubai has ended a long-standing source of revenue for its ruling family with the aim to boost tourism to the emirate.

Dubai Alcohol Tax Rule: A waitress serves customers beer at a restaurant in Dubai.(AP)
Dubai Alcohol Tax Rule: A waitress serves customers beer at a restaurant in Dubai.(AP)

The abrupt New Year’s Day announcement, made by Dubai’s two state-linked alcohol retailers, was a result of a government decree from its ruling Al Maktoum family, Associated Press reported.

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This comes as for years regulations related to liquor have been loosened in the sheikhdom, which now sells alcohol during daylight hours in Ramadan. It also began providing home delivery during the Covid lockdowns from the start of the pandemic.

Alcohol sales have been long linked to the economy of Dubai, a top travel destination in the UAE which is the home to the long-haul carrier Emirates. During the recent FIFA World Cup in Qatar, Dubai’s bars drew commuting football fans as well.

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However, a pint of beer easily can cost over $10 at a bar in Dubai, with other drinks' prices running even higher, Associated Press reported.

Additionally, under Dubai law, non-Muslims must be 21 or older to consume alcohol and drinkers are supposed to carry plastic cards issued by the Dubai police that permit them to purchase, transport and consume beer, wine and liquor. If not done so, they can face fines and arrest.

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