Visitors to Dubai will be raising a glass to the emirate’s decision to scrap a 30% tax on alcohol sales.
While it is not difficult to find a restaurant or hotel serving
alcoholic drinks to visitors in Dubai, the price often raises eyebrows.
A pint of beer in Dubai can cost more than US$15 at restaurants, and
wine starts from US$100 a bottle. This has seen some thirsty non-Muslim
residents driving to smaller emirates where booze prices are cheaper.
The year-long trial to scrap the alcohol tax is being seen as part of
a strategy to enhance Dubai’s appeal as a party destination as other
countries in the region ramp up their appeal to international visitors.
Saudi Arabia, where the sale of alcohol is strictly banned, is
developing huge tourism infrastructure, while Qatar, where alcohol is
heavily taxed, hopes to build on its staging of the FIFA World Cup to
attract more international visitors.
Along with the alcohol tax, licences for those who sell liquor in Dubai will also be scrapped.