Heading out at night in Dubai just got cheaper with the emirate scrapping its 30 percent tax on alcohol. In addition to this, it has dropped the license fee requirements that were earlier needed to buy liquor. As per reports, these changes – now in effect – will run for a one-year trial period. Here’s all about it.
The city of gold welcomes a sea of eager-eyed tourists every year – presenting to them some of the world’s most unique skyscrapers, an expansive desert, glittering jewellery stores, and artificial islands. That said, the nightlife at the sheikhdom – complete with bustling nightclubs and swanky bars – has its own following. And visitors who’d like to get a taste of it will now save costs, considering the country’s administration has cut its 30 percent tax on alcohol sales and made liquor licence free to obtain. In a move that’s seen as one to further boost its appeal as a liberal tourist destination – as compared to other Gulf nations – these changes took effect on January 1 and will reportedly continue for a year on a trial basis.
Dubai’s new alcohol tax exemption was reported by major retailers
As per the new changes, restaurants and hotels that purchase alcohol will now have to pay less. This benefit will be directly felt by consumers, increasing affordability. As per ABC News, this news – which marked the decree from the ruling Al Maktoum family – was first reported by two state-linked major alcohol purveyors namely Maritime & Mercantile International LLC (MMI) and African + Eastern. This also follows years of loosening regulations around liquor in the region – including the sale of alcohol during daylight hours in Ramada and home delivery during the lockdowns over the course of the pandemic.
Reflecting on this, Tyrone Reid, Group CEO of MMI said, “Since we began our operations in Dubai over 100 years ago, the emirate’s approach has remained dynamic, sensitive and inclusive for all,” Arabian Business reports. “These recently updated regulations are instrumental to continue ensuring the safe and responsible purchase and consumption of alcoholic beverages in Dubai and the UAE,” he added.
Advertisements of the retail giant noted, “Buying your favourite drinks is now easier and cheaper than ever,” and “You no longer need to drive out to the other emirates”. African+Eastern meanwhile confirmed the news, adding that prices however would remain subject to a 5 percent value-added tax. (VAT)
The move is expected to further draw visitors. Tourism, Al Jazeera notes, is a key part of the economy with numbers growing more than 180 percent in the first half of 2022 – as compared to 2021. That said, this has reportedly long been affected by alcohol sales, with several news agencies noting that the recent FIFA World Cup in Qatar – a sober affair – drew football fans in scores to Dubai’s many bars. As per law, currently, non-muslims need to be 21 or older in the sheikhdom to consume alcohol. They also need to carry plastic cards issued by the police that allow them to purchase, transport, and consume heady beverages.
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