Bahrain hotels call for delay to alcohol, music ban

Hotels chief meets with PM to ask for one-year delay to new clampdown.
By Andy Sambidge
Mon 20 Apr 2009 08:10 AM

Bahrain's one and two-star hotels have asked for a one-year delay to the implementation of a government alcohol ban, it emerged on Monday.

The new tourism clampdown imposed by the Culture and Information Ministry at the weekend also bans the budget hotels from recruiting musicians from abroad and orders them to halt all live entertainment programmes.

Hotels warned that hundreds of staff could be laid off as a result of the new ban while they have also expressed concern that the decision was taken just a week before Bahrain Grand Prix, which usually boosts their trade.

A letter organised by the Bahrain Society of Hotels and Restaurants has been presented to Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa who said he would look into the request, Gulf Daily News reported on Monday.

The paper added that 39 hotels had been notified of the new rules on Thursday, just a day before they were implemented.

Bahrain Society of Hotels and Restaurants president Ahmed Sanad said he met Prime Minister Shaikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa and presented him with a letter on behalf of hotel owners.

"We (hotel owners) explained that we were not given a chance, so we asked to be given one year to upgrade to three-star hotels," he told the paper.

Sanad, who owns one-star Al Zubara Hotel, said that the grace period would be for those keen to upgrade their hotels.

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