TravelDubai Suspends Alcohol Tax as Regional Competition Heats Up

Dubai Suspends Alcohol Tax as Regional Competition Heats Up

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Whereas it’s nonetheless the most well-liked regional vacation spot for vacationers and overseas employees, Dubai is dealing with rising competitors from Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the place Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been overhauling the dominion’s oil-dependent financial system and quickly loosening social restrictions in an effort to make Riyadh, the capital, a worldwide vacation spot.

The Saudi authorities has reined within the spiritual police, eased a conservative costume code, sponsored live shows and raves, and supplied its first vacationer visas in 2019. Officers have additionally been deploying a mix of incentives and ultimatums to influence multinational firms to find their regional headquarters in Riyadh as an alternative of Dubai.

Final yr, Prince Mohammed stated he wished to ultimately improve the proportion of overseas residents to 70 p.c of the dominion’s inhabitants, from round one third now. That may require making Saudi Arabia a extra interesting place for foreigners to stay. Whereas alcohol remains to be unlawful, rumors have been spreading for years that the coverage might change, maybe in restricted zones or inns — because it as soon as was in Dubai.

A semi-independent city-state within the Muslim-majority United Arab Emirates, Dubai has been loosening its alcohol laws for years. Nominally, the federal government requires people who wish to purchase alcohol to acquire a license, that are solely accessible for non-Muslims over the age of 21. However in apply, bars, golf equipment and eating places virtually by no means ask to see a allow.

Over the previous few years, the United Arab Emirates has additionally eased immigration guidelines, decriminalized cohabitation for single {couples}, and altered to a worldwide business-oriented working week of Monday by way of Friday, diverging from its neighbors, which preserve a weekend of Friday and Saturday to accommodate Islam’s communal Friday prayers.

These coverage modifications had been supposed to make the nation a extra enticing place for foreigners to work and stay. As in neighboring Qatar, your entire financial system hinges on foreigners, from the low-wage employees who construct skyscrapers and pump gasoline to highly-paid executives and Instagram influencers.

Whereas some Emiratis are uncomfortable with the tempo and route of their nation’s transformation, vocal dissent has been largely repressed.

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