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In an apparent bid to boost tourism, Dubai scraps 30% alcohol tax and licence fee

Dubai has scrapped its 30% alcohol tax in an apparent bid to boost tourism. It will also stop charging for personal alcohol licences – something anyone who intends to drink needs to carry. Dubai has been relaxing laws for some time, allowing the sale of alcohol in daylight during Ramadan and approving home delivery during the pandemic. dubai alcohol

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This latest move is thought to be an attempt to make the city more attractive to foreigners, in the face of competition from neighbours.

Enjoying alcohol in Dubai is perfectly legal, as long as you are respectful of the local laws and customs. Remember, alcohol can only be enjoyed in licensed venues, or in the privacy of your hotel room or accommodation.

Dubai drinking laws

Non-Muslims in Dubai must be at least 21 years old to drink alcohol and carry an alcohol license – a plastic card issued by the police.

While bars and nightclubs rarely ask to see the cards, those consuming alcohol without it can face fines or arrest. You cannot drink in the street or be publicly drunk in Dubai. It’s an offense under UAE laws. In fact, behavior that you may associate with being intoxicated, such as making rude gestures, swearing, and public displays of affection will also be punished if caught.

There is zero tolerance for underage drinking, public drunkenness, and drunk driving in Dubai. Therefore, if you’re enjoying alcohol whilst out it is sensible to not go beyond your limits.

All the latest and most important Dubai news you can find here

Where to buy alcohol in Dubai

If you’re wanting to enjoy an alcoholic beverage whilst out and about in Dubai you will need to look for a licensed premises. If you’re staying in a hotel, they will likely have a bar or restaurant that is approved to serve alcohol. You can buy alcohol here but it will need to be enjoyed at the venue.

Alternatively, if you’d prefer a drink at home, or in your hotel room, there will be stores approved to sell alcohol. However, these will not be the same as the supermarkets you have at home. They are typically known as liquor stores and are for purchasing alcohol only. Keep your eye out for African + Eastern or MMI stores:

  • African + Eastern – Marina Mall
  • African + Eastern – Burj Views
  • MMI – Dubai Silicon Oasis
  • MMI – Bur Dubai
  • African + Eastern – Marina Walk
  • African + Eastern – Jumeirah


The two companies which distribute alcohol in Dubai, already mentioned, Maritime and Mercantile International (MMI), and African & Eastern, said they would reflect the cut in tax for consumers.

“Since we began our operations in Dubai over 100 years ago, the emirate’s approach has remained dynamic, sensitive and inclusive for all,” MMI spokesman Tyrone Reid told AP. dubai alcohol

“These recently updated regulations are instrumental to continue ensuring the safe and responsible purchase and consumption of alcoholic beverages in Dubai and the UAE.”

It is not clear if the move, which took effect on Sunday, will be permanent. The Financial Times described the move as a one-year trial, citing “industry executives informed of the decision”.

Expatriates outnumber nationals by nine to one in Dubai, known as the Gulf’s “party capital”, and residents commonly drive to Umm al-Quwain and other emirates to buy alcohol in bulk.

Dubai has historically managed to attract more tourists and wealthy foreign workers than its neighbours, in part because of its tolerance of a more liberal lifestyle.

But now it faces increasing competition from rivals developing their hospitality and finance sectors.

Preparing for Dubai travel? Check out some of the best Dubai & UAE tours.

 

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