Dubai is set to permit daytime alcohol sales during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, for the first time ever.
This is a huge move for a city in the traditionally conservative United Arab Emirates where it is a punishable offense to drink, or to be under the influence of alcohol, in public.
Liquor is served in licensed hotels and clubs and non-Muslim residents can get a liquor license to drink alcohol at home. Special rules come into effect, however, during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, during which Muslims observe daylong fasts for 30 days.
Previously, those in need of drink had to wait until sunset, the time when Muslims break the fast. Not anymore, though, according to the new rules.
Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing issued a notice that alcohol sales would not be limited to special hours during the month-long fasting period.
The department told the Associated Press that "ensuring a superlative visitor experience consistently is at the center of our destination proposition and remains in line with Dubai's significance as a world-class tourism destination."
From building sky-impaling buildings to technologically innovative projects such as the world’s first 3D office, the UAE, especially Dubai, has been working on several projects to maintain and cement its position as a popular tourist destination in the world over the past couple of years.
And why not? After all, tourism brings in billions of dollars to the country.
In 2014, Dubai drew 13 million tourists in 2014, with hotels posting $6.5 billion (5.8 billion euros) in revenue.
"With nearly 1 million tourists expected to visit and enjoy all aspects of our city over Ramadan, we expect all operators and travelers to be respectful of the Holy Month and be mindful of cultural sensitivities," the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing's statement said.
Banner/Thumbnail Credit: Reuters, Karim Sahib