Dubai has kicked off the new year by cancelling a 30% tax on alcohol sales and making liquor licenses free in an attempt to boost business and tourism.
In an announcement made on Monday, Dubai Municipality temporarily stopped collecting the 30% fee from alcoholic beverage companies for one year. It also said that personal liquor licenses, earlier a requirement for all Dubai residents for purchasing alcohol in shops and costing 270 dirhams ($73.50), are now free. Till December 31, 2022, liquor licenses had to be renewed annually and had a processing time of about four weeks. However, there was no license needed to buy drinks in bars.
Dubai is also the only emirate in the United Arab Emirates that required residents to obtain a liquor license for in-shop purchases. In five other emirates, including Abu Dhabi, no license was required, and in the country’s more conservative emirate, Sharjah, the sale of alcohol is not allowed.
Some Dubai residents, who recently paid the full fee for their yearly license, were unhappy about the sudden announcement. More broadly, residents celebrated and welcomed the news. Dubai city has countless bars, nightclubs and restaurants serving alcohol.