Dubai drops 30% alcohol tax in bid to boost tourism

Dubai has scrapped its 30% tax on alcohol sales for the rest of the year in an apparent bid to boost tourism, while also stopping the charge on personal alcohol licences, something residents who wish to drink at home are required to have.

The announcement follows years of loosening regulations over liquor in the city, which now sells alcohol during daylight hours in Ramadan and approved home delivery during the pandemic.

“Since we began our operations in Dubai over 100 years ago, the emirate’s approach has remained dynamic, sensitive and inclusive for all,” Tyrone Reid of Maritime and Mercantile International (MMI), one of two companies which distribute alcohol in Dubai, told AP.

“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, however Dubai now faces increasing competition from rivals that are developing their hospitality and finance sectors.

The sale of alcohol in the UAE is more liberalised compared to neighbouring Gulf countries. Non-Muslim residents in Dubai must be at least 21 years old to drink, transport or store alcohol at home and have an alcohol licence.