Saudi Arabia Considers Promoting Alcohol At Airports

If Saudi Arabia is severe about rising its tourism trade, alcohol must be allowed ultimately. We’re now seeing the primary (very small) indicators of that.

Saudi Arabia could promote alcohol in responsibility free

Arabian Enterprise reviews that Saudi Arabia is contemplating introducing the sale of alcohol in responsibility free areas at choose airports. Whereas no last choice has been made, a session course of is presently underway with stakeholders.

In line with the plan, alcohol would initially solely be out there for buy by worldwide transit passengers, that means that anybody departing from or getting into Saudi Arabia wouldn’t be allowed to purchase alcohol. Presently Saudi Arabia has a full ban on alcohol (together with onboard flights), in contrast to close by Gulf states, which largely prohibit alcohol to sure venues.

This dialogue is happening as Saudi Arabia prepares to launch RIA, a brand new Riyadh-based airline that’s anticipated to develop at a tempo we’ve by no means seen earlier than. Saudi Arabia has the aim of constructing its personal model of Emirates, however in 1 / 4 the period of time.

The airline can be closely reliant on worldwide transit passengers, merely utilizing Saudi Arabia as a transit level whereas touring between two different international locations. Saudi Arabia clearly has the funds to start out this sort of venture, although I’m unsure what precisely the nation is hoping to perform, since the good thing about having vacationers merely transit a rustic is pretty restricted, if it might probably’t be executed profitably (and it’s extremely questionable how this may earn a living).

May alcohol be coming to Saudi Arabia’s airport responsibility free?

It’s solely a matter of time till this occurs

A lot of international locations making an attempt to cater to vacationers battle to strike the fitting stability between sustaining their “traditions,” and catering to the expectations of vacationers from across the globe. I feel that’s fairly clearly occurring in Saudi Arabia as nicely.

The factor is, Saudi Arabia isn’t simply making an attempt to cater to vacationers a bit bit, however relatively the nation is investing lots of of billions of {dollars} in rising its tourism sector. The dimensions of Saudi Arabia’s present tourism investments are unprecedented, from beginning an airline, to the large Pink Sea venture (the place you’ll see nearly each lodge model on earth), to creating main cities for tourism.

Suffice it to say that many guests have main hesitations about visiting the Kingdom. Whereas alcohol is hardly the first concern that some individuals have about visiting Saudi Arabia, it’s going to ultimately should be allowed on a bigger scale.

Rumor has it that Saudi Arabia’s Pink Sea venture will enable alcohol, although I’d should think about that it’s going to go method past that. I suppose promoting alcohol in responsibility free to worldwide vacationers is at the least a really low threat place to start out. As I view it, this borders on pointless, and I can’t assist however marvel if this may result in some incidents the place individuals attempt to eat alcohol throughout the flight that they introduced onboard.

It’s at all times mocktail o’clock on Saudia!

Backside line

It’s solely a matter of time earlier than Saudi Arabia begins to normalize the consumption of alcohol, at the least for worldwide vacationers. That’s not simply true for these visiting Saudi Arabia, but additionally for passengers on the nation’s new mega-airline.

Saudi Arabia is reportedly contemplating promoting alcohol in airport responsibility free, which might be a small first step to bringing alcohol to the nation. I’m unsure I actually see the purpose of that, however at the least it’s one thing, I suppose.

When do you assume Saudi Arabia will begin to serve alcohol?

(Tip of the hat to @gyo900)

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