Hospitality industry leaders in Bahrain have warned that the sector faces huge job losses if the government's proposed blanket ban on alcohol sales goes ahead.
Bahrain Institute of Hospitality Management managing director Qutub Dadabhai said the hospitality industry would be decimated if a proposed ban on public sales of alcohol at hotels, restaurants, clubs and off-licences is approved by the Cabinet.
Nearly a quarter of the country's working population is employed in the industry, many of them Bahrainis, he said in comments published by Gulf Daily News on Thursday.
"A lot of jobs will definitely be lost," said Mr Dadabhai. "Alcohol is not the main aspect of tourism in Bahrain - the key is that it has a knock-on affect on food and retailing in the country," he told the paper.
"Tourism is the fastest growing industry in the world and there has been a huge increase in the number of jobs available to Bahrainis in the industry in recent years," he added.
His warning was echoed by Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry tourism committee chairman Nabeel Kanoo, who said the ban could be devastating.
"If this (the ban) was to happen it would have a devastating affect on the message Bahrain is trying to send to the rest of the world," Kanoo told the paper.
MPs voted unanimously in favour of the ban on Tuesday and the proposal must now go to the Cabinet, which has the power to reject it.For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.