On Sunday, Dubai eliminated its 30% tax on alcohol sales in the sheikhdom and made the needed liquor licenses freely available, removing a long-standing source of income for the ruling family and ostensibly helping to increase tourism.
The abrupt notification on New Year’s Day from Dubai’s two state-linked alcohol merchants appears to have been a result of a directive from the Al Maktoum family, the country’s governing dynasty. However, the decision was not immediately acknowledged by government representatives, and they did not react to inquiries from The Associated Press.
However, it comes after years of easing booze laws in the sheikhdom, which now allows sales of alcoholic beverages during Ramadan’s daytime hours and started offering home delivery during lockdowns at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
Alcohol sales have long been a key economic indicator for Dubai, a popular tourist destination in the United Arab Emirates and the base of the long-haul airline Emirates. Soccer fans traveled to Dubai’s numerous pubs during the recent World Cup in the neighboring country of Qatar.
But at a bar, a pint of beer easily can cost more than $10, and other drinks can be significantly more expensive. It wasn’t immediately obvious whether this would result in a price decrease for venues that serve alcohol or if it would solely have an impact on people who purchase it from stores.
The announcement was announced in a statement by the global Emirates Group organization that distributes alcohol, Maritime and Mercantile International.
Non-Muslims in Dubai are need to be 21 or older in order to consume alcohol. The Dubai police issues plastic cards to drinkers that allow them to buy, transport, and consume beer, wine, and liquor. Even though the sheikhdom’s extensive network of pubs, nightclubs, and lounges hardly ever requests to see the permission, failure to do so might result in penalties and incarceration.
The UAE’s oil-rich metropolis Abu Dhabi discontinued its system of alcohol licenses in September 2020. The revelation on Sunday also coincided with the UAE’s plans to impose a 9% corporate tax in June on top of other levies and fees that it collects in order to avoid paying income taxes on individuals.