By abolishing the 30% tax on wines and other spirits sold on its territory, Dubai hopes to boost its tourist and economic appeal to non-Muslims.
In 2022, drinking half a litre of beer in Dubai cost an average of about 15 dollars (over 14 euros). The price of a bottle of wine started at around 100 dollars (about 95 euros).
But by 2023, the bill is expected to drop considerably in the most touristy of the seven Arab emirates. The two largest liquor distributors in the country, Maritime and Mercantile International (MMI) and African and Eastern, have announced on social networks that they are abolishing the 30% tax on wines and spirits.
They also revealed that the licence allowing non-Muslims over the age of 21 to buy alcohol in Dubai’s handful of licensed shops would now be free. The licence previously cost $70 (about €66) a year.
Tourism and economic hub
Although the authorities have not confirmed the news, it has been reported in the local media, with a start date of 1 January. And the information seems very credible as the attractiveness of Dubai, a real tourist and economic hub in the Middle East, is at stake.
The emirate has gradually removed a number of obstacles to the consumption of alcoholic beverages on its territory. But it remained in acute competition with some of its neighbours, such as the nearby emirate of Umm Al Quwain. Foreign residents did not hesitate to travel the less than 100 km from Dubai to take advantage of its lower alcohol prices.
The lifting of the tax on alcohol will not only improve the lifestyle of foreigners in Dubai, but also encourage tourism and the high-end restaurant industry. The Michelin Guide has just awarded at least one star to eleven restaurants in the Emirate. However, if the price of the dishes was competitive with that of the major European capitals, the bill was until now considerably increased by the drinks…
By abolishing the prohibitive 30% tax on alcoholic beverages without delay, Dubai is offering a precious opportunity to the players in the sector. And without delay.
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