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Mixed signals over region’s tolerance for alcohol

Rules governing alcohol consumption have long varied from Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) member state to state, as governments try to balance local sensitivities with the demands of the tourism industry and a desire to appear open to the world. While Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE emirate of Sharjah all have bans in place – although there are strong rumours the Saudi authorities are considering loosening the rules in the modernistic Neom city – other GCC states all allow the controlled sale and consumption of alcohol, albeit with varying degrees of tolerance.

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