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Anyone Can Now Drink Alcohol In Abu Dhabi Without A License - Foreign Affairs - Nairaland

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Anyone Can Now Drink Alcohol In Abu Dhabi Without A License by illitracy: 10:07am On Sep 22
Abu Dhabi, the conservative capital of the United Arab Emirates, is hoping to attract more tourists by loosening restrictions on drinking alcohol.

Authorities have ended the requirement for drinkers to have a special license after neighbouring Dubai also loosened liquor laws during the pandemic.

The move was made to "improve quality standards of the tourism industry", according to a statement by the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism that was distributed to liquor sellers but not otherwise publicised.

"We would like to announce the cancellation of alcohol licenses for individuals," the circular said. "Residents and tourists will be permitted to buy and possess alcohol from licensed retail shops, and are allowed to drink within tourism and hotel establishments, clubs and independent outlets."

Previously non-Muslim residents had legally needed to purchase a license for dh230 (£49) in order to buy, possess or consume alcohol. The terms of the license included a number of difficult to enforce provisions, including that it was illegal to spend more than 20 percent of one’s salary on alcohol per month.

The new rules set an age limit of 21 and appear to allow Muslims to purchase alcohol, something that was previously illegal, though rarely enforced.

While Abu Dhabi is less renowned for its nightlife than its freewheeling neighbouring emirate Dubai, most hotels and some other locations have bars that serve alcohol without asking for licenses or enquiring about a person’s religion.

Tax on alcohol is a significant source of revenue for the UAE, whose economy has slowed amid dropping oil prices, a downgrade in Dubai’s real estate market and now a slump in tourism due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Alcohol is sold in six of the UAE’s seven emirates, excluding Sharjah. Public drunkenness and driving under the influence are illegal throughout the UAE.

Overall sales of alcohol by volume in the UAE fell sharply in 2019 to 128.79 million litres, down some 3.5 percent from 133.42 million litres sold the year before, according to market research firm Euromonitor. The 2019 sales are down nearly nine percent from 2017, when 141.51 million litres were sold.

In neighbouring Dubai, authorities have loosened liquor laws during the pandemic to allow for the home delivery of alcohol.


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