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Mon 17 Jan 2011 01:57 PM

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Hotels scrabble as Dubai declares Valentine’s Day dry

Alcohol banned on February 14 by emirate's tourism authority following clash with religious celebration

Hotels scrabble as Dubai declares Valentine’s Day dry
February 14 is traditionally a lucrative earner for hotels that capitalise on its commercial potential

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.


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Cookie 8 years ago

Not a big loss. Anyone upset about this? Valentine's Day is such commercial nonsense anyway.

Cyco 8 years ago

It is good to note that that the emirate is sticking on to its religious principles and it has to be respected.

Twinkle 8 years ago

I've tried, but I can't feel any sympathy for those hotels with their overinflated prices for Valentine's Day

cupid 8 years ago

Celebrating valentines day needs love in your heart for your loved ones and it is not celebrated by consuming alcohol. Valentines day is a day to express your love and concern for your loved ones and is not commercial nonsence. This is done by people who weigh love with money.

GD 8 years ago

I think the only people upset will be the big hotels as they lose revenue on expensive cocktails and bottles of wine and champagne, and cant charge as high rates for their 'valentines meal packages'.

Ed 8 years ago

This decision is very understandable. And a huge improvement is that this is already so early announced!

Raju 8 years ago

Valentine's day is not a commercial nonsense..... it is commercialised in a nonsense way just to make money! Show your love by giving to charity or helping the less privileged people.

Red Snappa 8 years ago

Moving Valentines day to the 13th is not likely encourage the superstitious, star crossed or otherwise, to spend money on a ridiculously expensive single rose, candle and a bottle of bubbly. It's distinctly unlucky, unless you're allowed to bring your black cat to the dinner table.

A note for the hospitality industry, the best way to pull them in is budget Valentine's day, remember cheap is beautiful, no matter what date it's on.

Worldnomad 8 years ago

I think it time that the UAE evaluate its stated desire to be a country that welcome tourism. I was in Dubai for New Years celebrations in 2008 when many events were cancelled or scaled down in support of the Palestinian conflict. There was no advance notice given and many of my fellow revellers had spent considerable money on flights and hotels. A reduction in price or refund was not offered. If the UAE only wants to cater to Muslim tourists, it should promote itself to that demographic; however, if it wants to be a world leader for tourism, these decisions need to be carefully analysed prior to implementation.

Toby 8 years ago

Us men are breathing a huge sigh of relief, because the supper bill will considerably less!

Excellent suggestion Raju