Dubai Suspends 30% Tax on Alcohol Sales to Boost Tourism

In order to further boost tourism to the emirate, Dubai ended its 30% tax on alcohol sales in the sheikhdom Sunday and made its required liquor licenses free to obtain.

The sudden New Year’s Day announcement from a government decree from the ruling Al Maktoum family puts an end to a major source of revenue for its ruling family.

Government officials did not immediately acknowledge the decision but it follows years of relaxing regulations over liquor in the sheikhdom.

It now sells alcohol during daylight hours in Ramadan and allowed home delivery during the lockdowns at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

 During the just-concluded World Cup in nearby Qatar, Dubai’s many bars drew commuting soccer fans. Alcohol sales have long served as a major barometer of the economy of Dubai, a top travel destination in the UAE.

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However, a pint of beer sells for about $10 at a bar, with other drinks costing higher.

It wasn’t immediately clear if this would cause a price drop at alcohol-serving establishments or if it only would affect those buying it from retailers.

Alcohol distributor Maritime and Mercantile International, which is part of the wider Emirates Group, made the announcement in a statement.

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

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

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