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Dubai relies on tourism, abolishes alcohol tax

Dubai has scrapped its 30% alcohol tax and will end collecting personal alcohol licenses that anyone who wants to drink must carry with them, making the city more attractive to foreigners in the face of competition from neighboring countries. The BBC reports.

It is unclear whether the measure that came into force yesterday will last. The Financial Times described the move as a year-long trial, citing “industry executives who have been briefed on the decision.” Dubai has nine to one more foreigners than residents, the city is known as the ‘party capital’ of the Gulf, and citizens usually travel to Umm al-Quwain and other emirates to buy alcohol in bulk.

Historically, Dubai has managed to attract more tourists and wealthy expatriate workers than its neighbors, partly due to its tolerance for a more liberal lifestyle. But now it faces growing competition from rivals developing the hospitality and financial sectors.

Non-Muslims in Dubai must be at least 21 years old to drink alcohol and carry a license, a police-issued card. Bars and nightclubs rarely require seeing the card, but those who consume alcohol without one can face fines or jail time.



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