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Tue 23 Mar 2010 12:31 PM

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Over 40% think Dubai should ban alcohol

Latest poll finds opinion is divided about the emirate's current alcohol rules.

Over 40% think Dubai should ban alcohol
WINE DRINKING: 40.7 percent of people said they thought alcohol should be completely banned in Dubai because it is a Muslim country. (ITP Images)

More than 40 percent of people think alcohol should be banned completely in Dubai, the latest Arabian Business poll has found.

Results of the online survey, which come after officials issued a circular to hotels stating that the use of alcohol in cooking was “strictly prohibited”, reveal opinion is divided about the emirate’s alcohol rules.

Some 54.8 percent of people said they disagreed with an alcohol in food ban, while 45.2 percent said they were in support of changes.

At the moment dishes that contain alcohol can be sold in the city’s restaurants as long as it is clearly marked on the menu and the drink is stored, and the food prepared, separately.

Officials have since confirmed that an
alcohol in food ban

would not be enforced and that
confusion had arisen after chefs misunderstood the circular


"It's a misunderstanding, it's not a ban. Alcohol should be segregated and it should be clear on the menu the food that has been prepared with alcohol. This was the confusion,” Khalid Mohammed Sharif al Awadhi, the director of the food control department, said on Tuesday.

According to the poll 40.7 percent of people said they thought alcohol should be completely banned in Dubai because it is a Muslim country.

A further 4.5 percent supported an alcohol in food ban saying there were plenty of dishes that can be cooked without it.

However, 23.9 percent of people said dishes like coq au vin and tiramisu should still be available, with rules remaining as they are.

Some 30.9 percent disagreed with a ban, but suggested dishes prepared with alcohol should be listed on a separate menu.

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

Brit happy to be here 10 years ago

How many of those 40% live outside the UAE I wonder?

julian howard 10 years ago

and that, frankly, will be the beginning of the end of the Emirates foray into the country competitiveness and tourism.

Jimbo Jones 10 years ago

Both comments spot on - It will never happen Now, out to barracuda today I think..

Greer 10 years ago

A ban on alcohol in the country would be totally retrograde, as tourists, especially from the weatern countries, will just stop coming. What does Dubai offer, really...a modern city, nice hotels with a pleasant atmosphere that includes good food, a glass of wine or a beer for those wishing to relax and cool down...some desert escapades...after which a nice cool drink (often alcoholic) is very welcome. What else is there? Some shopping?... and.....? not much else. So - mkae the hotels less attractive by removing alcohol from their drink lists, and a huge portion of the tourist trade will go somewhere else...remember that they just have to change their destination - maybe somewhere in the Med, or Asia, Africa, Australia, etc - plenty of other places available where people can stay in very nice hotels, eat and drink, and see local sights... Do you really want to risk it? I am sure of what will happen...

Telco guy 10 years ago

Can AB explain why the headline is 40% support ban on alcohol and not "more than half oppose ban on alcohol" I am just curious. Yes, this would work wonders for Dubai tourism. It could easily reach the levels of Sharjah.

B.S. 10 years ago

I come from a market research industry, when a survey of such genre is undertaken, the result should even provide the demographics of the respondents to validate on how biased was the survey. If we take only Dubai into consideration the non-arab expat population easily accounts for more than 70% of the total population. Therefore, AB needs to come clean give a clear presentation on how did they go through the methodology, before issuing such statements which would only do harm to the current crisis that this country is facing. Media has always been known to blow situations out of context sending the readers into a frenzy of confusion, media needs to own up to their actions and start providing credible and validate each news to it's readers, it has to be their priority and responsibility. AB has been known to chop of my comments on a regular basis, just for being truthful. God save them!

Oli69 10 years ago

The last thing this place needs is exactly a ban on alcohol, which would reduce incoming tourists to the Emirate (thus harming hotels occupancy rates and their bottom lines - as alcohol represents a significant proportion of their f&b revenues), would drive expat residents away, which in turn would reduce consumer spending, real estate occupancy and therefore driving sales prices and rents further down. Dubai needs exactly the opposite measures, more lax and less restrictive policies to come out of this economic crisis. If not, then ppl will simply move elsewhere... harsh but true unfortunately..

Greer 10 years ago

@BS and Oli69 You have both raised excellent points and especially BS regarding the methodologies employed in this survey. Was it 40% of all respondents of both Arabic and non-Arabic (or Islamic for that matter) background...or are we talking 40% of AB readers, which more than likely includes a large number of people who dont even live in the Emirate, or maybe even the UAE. Telco guy also brings up a very good point - why is the headline slanted to promote the negative minority view, rather than the majority view on alcohol? Wherever you got these figures, I feel that posting them as headlines on your e-mag and presumably any printed version, is folly, and you really should acept the condemnation of your readers for yor actions. In the light of recent refusals to post my comments on a number of subjects, I assume you will refuse this one too... but dont give the hackneyed excuse that it is off-topic or abusive, it is neither - the topic really relates to what appears to be a misrepresentation of results, or at the very least, erroneous or biased reporting. To paraphrase BS below - Own Up to What You Have Done!

Kaptain 10 years ago

BAN ALCOHOL and allow people, students and enthusiasts with multiple, Sponsor-less Temporary Work Visa and the magic would be done..!! Earn and enjoy. Also, introduce a minimum (pay-back) on the income earned through such visa schemes before the holders of visa plan to exit. This would sustain the economy and keep the money rolling and available for those who would be coming in. Think economics and NOT intoxicated ideas..!!!

Amira Smith 10 years ago

Since the story states 'online survey' and is referred to as the 'Arabian Business poll', I am presuming it is a poll of online readers. (The poll was also visible on the website until recently - so I think we can assume that is the case.) To me, this is a straw poll of readers-it doesn't claim to be a widespread, lengthy survey - it's just a barometer of the feelings of AB readers on a specific issue. And for that, to me at least, it's interesting. The headline is slanted, because it's the more sensationalist story here. That's a basic rule of media, I would say - go with what will grab your reader's attention. (We are all proof it works!) As an aside, I also think AB should be commended for publishing comments that directly abuse it. Few online websites would do that. It's hardly in their interest!