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Thu 7 May 2009 06:59 AM

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Job losses warning over Bahrain alcohol ban plan

Hospitality industry leaders say proposed ban on alcohol sales will be devastating.

Job losses warning over Bahrain alcohol ban plan
JOBS WARNING: A ban on alcohol sales in Bahrain will have a devastating effect on the hospitality industry, sector leaders say. (ITP Images - for illustrative purposes only)

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.

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Geriant 10 years ago

Bahrain has little in the way of natural resources, little by way of culture (apart from some uninteresting mounds in the sand) and nothing by way of a future if it goes this route. The financial services industry is decimated and the country cannot even employ its own citizens, so taking away a huge chunk of earning capacity is daft.

Maria 10 years ago

With all due respect to the culture and traditions of this part of the world, all things should be okay in moderation. I really hope that Bahrain does not go ahead with the plan. It will be a big blow on the people as well as the industry and even possibly the economy as a whole. Visits to restaurants will decrease and people will not be able to celebrate some occassions properly.

expat 10 years ago

Geriant, I don't think any body should the way you are looking at the problem, the solution can not be to allow what ever required to get the economy on track and eployment in tact, some times it is hard but good for the future generation (in this case asians). Stop giving these rubbish, suggestions. I hope you may suggest anything to get the ecnomy going, come on!!!

Omar 10 years ago

It's their own country and all others must respect whatever they decide either by staying or leaving. You can not influence a decision made in Bahrain by Bahrainis. Do i have the right to vote in England or Switzerland if i am not a 100% citizen. The answer is NO - we, as foreigners, just need to accept the rules and regulations of the country we live in or leave it. Why are the foreigners finding it very hard to co-op with that in the gulf while some do not have the right to comment in their own countries. As for westerners, i believe you respect the laws of each other. For instance, the people of Holland, where it's legal to have drugs, do respect the laws of France whereby it's not allowed to have drugs and so on. Please people, respect the laws and regulations of each country. As for Bahrainis, well, i believe they have the full right to say what they want - What more than what Mr. Kanoo said?? I am sure such people reach out the top officials and they should solve the matter between themselves.

Lucy 10 years ago

If this ridiculous proposal is passed, Bahrain can kiss goodbye to any kind of economic growth. Bahrain is hardly a hotspot holiday destination as it is, but banning alcohol will ensure that its meagre tourist industry will be destroyed - every hotel will be bankrupt and airlines will suffer from dwindling passenger numbers more so than they are now. There is little to keep the population entertained in Bahrain, but enforcing such draconian laws will not only force restaurants, bars and clubs to close, thus creating widespread unemployment, it will undoubtedly convince many other people to leave in search of a more civilised place to call home - the very people who pump money into Bahrain and keep it afloat. Job losses, a plummeting economy, thousands forced to leave - hardly a glitering advertisement for what is meant to be one of the most forward thinking regions in the Middle East, is it?

Wake-up 10 years ago

This is incredible. Do the Parliamentarians not look around the region and take note of issues and consequences. This is not about alcohol sales it is about the issues that fall in, around and off it. Bahrain is seen as truly international. You will lose your children to countries abroad. You will lose your tourists. You will lose any business in the meetings, industry, convention and exhibitions industry. You will lose your major hotel chains because no-one will come to stay. Your children will not have jobs because no foreign direct investment will happen, industries will suffer, the island will shrivel up and be a ghost town of unemployed, poor, uneducated generations of Bahraini's instead of bright, educated, vibrant, cosmopolitan, well adjusted youth that will take Bahrain into a bright and beneficial future. The only other solution? Split the island in half .. give half to those who want alcohol banned (and all the other lifestyle quashing aspects they are so keen to remove) and give the other half to the rest of the Bahrain community. Do we even have to discuss which half will flourish, be well rounded, international, educated, have jobs, embrace cultural diversity whilst retaining and respecting their own heritage? The Parliamentarians need to speak with the youth and more importantly the youth need to SPEAK OUT. This is YOUR future they are playing with not the future of those in Parliament - they are imposing a future they will not be around to be judged on.

not so 10 years ago

Nobody is saying that it is not their country. Merely offering their opinions on a course of action the country has announced. Are we not allowed to voice opinions or concerns? You say some comment who could not voice opinions in their own country, so should we deny them a voice on everything then? The world did not progress by stifling of all discussion - look at the failed communist states for an example of this failure. Yes it is up to them what they do - but if the consequences are bad they can't say that they were not warned - even if you do not agree with those opinions being voiced in the first place.

Anonymous 10 years ago

Honestly ive never visited Bahrain but yes i have heard a lot about its hospitality industry. Being a Muslim myself; i believe in not serving or consuming alcohol and i also dont believe in building a foundation on something that is not allowed in the first place? A booming industry should not be spared in these crisis, let it take a hit aswell, its the only surviving industry in these crisis. Let those people also feel insecure about their jobs. And yes tourism, kill it completely. Why do you need it anyways? Let tourism fall, why do you want people who dont even live there, spending their hard earned money? Let them go spend in another country. This will allow operators of this industry to find oppurtunities elsewhere, in return helping other countries develop their tourism industry So in my opinion i think Bahrain should place a ban on alcohol. Just so other countries learn and benefit from it.

Charles David 10 years ago

With regards to this Alcohol Ban....on any given weekend, a large portion of patrons to the bars, restaurants, discos and the like, are Saudi's. This Ban will surely put a damper on the border crossing numbers from Saudi Arabia. After all, the running joke amongst expats who have been in the Gulf for any length of time is based on Bahrain being the "world's largest liquor store" to the Kingdom..... This action will possibly heat up the "bootlegging" or "bathtub breweries" from a decade ago. The truth hurts, but, it is what it is..............

Geriant 10 years ago

Booze brings out the critic in everyone, so it is healthy to see the response to Bahrain's assisted suicide bid. Not only will all the hotels be broke but the entire massage parlour business will be defunct, as nobody will be cross the causeway to visit the museum and see the sights, as there aren't any. The solution to this problem is for the MPs to stop being hypocrits and accept that booze is a part of life and if it is banned on their island they will find a world most changed from Day One. The positive solution is to tax the hell out of hooch, make it prohibitively expensive so poor Bahraini MPs can't afford it, only rich Saudis and vile expats, and let the world continue as it is. If Dubai did this you would be trampled to death at the airport.