Hotels in Dubai are scrambling to reschedule their Valentine’s Day celebrations after the emirate’s tourism authority confirmed February 14 will be a dry night for religious reasons.
February 14, traditionally a lucrative earner for hotels that capitalise on its commercial potential, this year falls a day ahead of Prophet Mohammed’s (PBUH) birthday, the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing told Arabian Business.
Licensed hotels and bars will be barred from selling alcohol as a result, Saad El Sayed, a media spokesperson at DTCM told.
“This is because of Prophet Mohammed’s (PBUH) birthday only,” he said.
The date, referred to as Milad Al Nabi, is traditionally marked as a religious holiday by the UAE and other Muslim states, in order to celebrate the life of the Prophet (PBUH).
Hotels in the emirate told Arabian Business they would be holding their Valentine’s Day celebrations on February 13, and reserving more sedate, dry events for the day itself.
"We will adapt the Valentine's offer to serve only non-alcoholic drinks," a spokesperson for the state-backed Jumeirah Group, which counts the Burj Al Arab in its portfolio, told Arabian Business.
“Due to this development, our celebration will be on the 13th so we could serve both our alcohol and non-alcoholic packages and on the 14th only the non-alcoholic beverages will be available,” a spokesperson from the Renaissance Hotel confirmed.
In Abu Dhabi, hotels have not yet received any direction from the tourism authorities.
“In Abu Dhabi there has been no announcement yet with regards to Valentine’s being dry so we will continue our activities as planned unless instructed otherwise by the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority,” Lina Vasiloudis, director of marketing and communications at the Beach Rotana hotel in Abu Dhabi told Arabian Business.