Hotels in Qatar have agreed to serve alcohol for guests this week, in an apparent change from a ban on booze before Eid Al Adha.
Arounf nine five-star hotels have confirmed to customers that their restaurants will be open and selling liquor, after receiving government approval.
The rule has been reversed after two years that required restaurants, bars and clubs to be dry for the nine days leading up to Eid, as well as the first day of the Muslim holiday itself.
This year, Eid is supposed to start on September 1st. When asked about the reason for change in policy, the hotel representatives did not explain.
The decision to lift ban came after many local hotels failed to attract visitors due to an ongoing Gulf blockade.
Some hotels said that they would go dry for one day, on Aug. 31, only.
So far, the hotels that told customers they will continue selling liquor at least most days include the Four Seasons Hotel Doha, the W Doha Hotel, the InterContinental Doha The City, the Hilton Hotel and The Sheraton Grand in Dafna/West Bay, as well as the Marsa Malaz Kempinski on the Pearl-Qatar, the Grand Hyatt Hotel by Lagoona mall, the St. Regis Hotel and InterContinental Hotel near Katara.
Some hotels said they would be open and serve alochol throughout, although there would be no live music or entertainment.
Some are still waiting instructions about whether their bars and clubs would be allowed to open.
Qatar’s QDC was closed yesterday, and will re-open on Sept. 3. From the past two years the warehouse has given up selling alcohol in the run-up to Eid Al Adha.
The days before Eid-Al Adha are known by Muslims as the first 10 days of Dhul Hijjah. This is the twelfth and last month of the Islamic calendar.
This is the time when Muslims from around the world travel to Makkah in Saudi Arabia to undertake Hajj (pilgrimage).
Even one who is not performing Hajj, the first 10 days of this month are believed to be blessed days to undertake good deeds.
But this alone is not the time when Qatar hotels usually are required to go dry. It is also prohibited during the month of Ramadan, until the first day of Eid Al-Fitr, and on the Prophet Mohammed’s birthday, which this year falls around Dec. 1.
Qatar hotels have been busy with tourists from Saudi Arabia. They often travel with their large families for the long public holiday.
In 2016, more than 40 percent of all visitors to Qatar came from other Gulf countries, according the Qatar Tourism Authority’s annual report.
The blockade will also affect the revenues during the upcoming Eid Al Adha. This is usually one of the busiest times of the year for visitors.
To increase country’s appeal as a travel destination, authorities said this month that citizens of more than 80 countries would be able to visit visa-free.
Russia, China and India are the nationals included.