Alcohol licenses to be issued to hotels on inhabited islands

Hotels with more than 100 beds will be allowed to sell alcohol on inhabited islands – such as Male’ – according to new regulations approved by the Ministry of Trade and Economic Development.

In addition to tourist hotels, bars at the airport departure terminal will be authorised to sell alcohol. Diplomats at the ambassador level will also be eligible for liquor permits.

The illegal imports law 4/75 authorises the ministry to formulate such regulations. The new law applies to both alcohol and pork products, and will go into effect from 1 March.

The new regulations for liquor licenses were proposed in November 2009, but were withdrawn shortly afterwards due to public outcry and opposition from the Islamic Ministry.

State Minister of Trade Adhil Saleem said a hotel seeking to acquire a liquor license under the new regulations would be required to follow the government’s “strict rules” on the sale of alcohol.

Hotels will not be allowed to have a bar that is visible from the outside, and it must only serve foreigners. Furthermore, the alcohol can only be sold and consumed in designated areas of the hotel.

Maldivians cannot be employed at the bar and all employees of the bar must be registered with the economic development ministry and undergo a police check. Security cameras must be installed in both the serving area and storerooms, and back-up recordings kept.

Moreover, an inventory of the alcohol in storage and daily sales must be maintained and made available to police on request.

Saleem believes a side effect of the new license regulations will be “the proper disposal of empty liquor bottles”.

“Now, it’s not an issue if you find an empty bottle of liquor on the streets of inhabited islands,” he said, suggesting that with the new licenses establishments must dispose of bottles properly.

Sim Mohamed from the Maldives Association of Tourism Industry (MATI) said the changes in alcohol licensing would have little effect on the tourism industry, “as most people travelling to Malé do so for business, or stay only for the day.”

Mauroof Zakir, spokesperson for a coalition of NGOs against the sale of alcohol on inhabited islands said the issue is intrinsically a serious one.

“Maybe the government thinks it’s only a few people with beards who want to stop this,” he said. “The government is doing what it likes without considering what the people might want.”

He said the Islamic Foundation and the coalition of NGOs “will not support this and will take action against it, within the law.”

Regulations at a glance:

a) alcohol and pork cannot be served outside the bar area, for instance from mini-bars in hotel rooms

b) Maldivians cannot be employed at the bar, while all employees must be registered at the ministry after a police clearance

c) the bar should not be visible from outside and should be located at a place that is not easily visible to those who visit the hotel

d) the hotel should have a separate warehouse to store pork and liquor items and it should have proper security

e) a daily inventory must be kept, including the amount in storage and the amount served

f) the inventory should be made available to police upon request

g) only expatriates registered at the ministry after a police clearance should be allowed to store and remove items from the warehouse

h) there must be a CCTV at the warehouse

i) only those with foreign passports can be served at the bar and Maldivians with foreign passports cannot be served

j) the security guard at the bar must check passports before entry

k) the hotel must establish a private security system approved by police

l) it will be illegal to remove pork and liquor items from the bar or selling it outside the hotel

m) inebriated customers should not be served before they regain sobriety nor should they be allowed to leave the hotel

n) the hotel must establish a breath-testing mechanism approved by police for patrons before they leave the bar

o) cameras must be installed if police request it and CCTV camera footage must be kept for a month


21 thoughts on “Alcohol licenses to be issued to hotels on inhabited islands”

  1. this is good, it would enable proper regulation and stop the illegal trade of alcohols in reused bottles and home made.
    Surely this will piss alot of people even the one who has there own mini bars at home coz we are use to the double sided us and then there will be people who would fume out coz they would say this is something worth jihad against those who sell it. I hope holidayinn increase there security in Male Hotel.

  2. a very strict measure... no maldivians will be able to drink now; whereas under the old rules it was easy for us to buy a bottle of vodka from a bengali

  3. In Islamic Society like us, any thing to do with alcohol business is a quit sensitive and difficult issue to deal.

    With the recent openness Islamic movements are quite strong within the country. This new regulation is giving Islamic movement to get stronger and relevant.

    The scary part is even a single crazy action can ruin our tourism.

  4. hehe !!! this is what i call never underestimate the power of very stupid people !! hehe

  5. Mr President, are you thinking what majority of people are thinking in maldives, or is this just to avert holiday inns complains.

  6. Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity! (Einstein)

    If Maldivians would put so much fervor and energy into real education and economic activity as in defending their 100% muslim state, Maldives could be maybe a country like Singapore. NOT.
    If a brainwashed lunatic should target the Holiday Inn for selling alcohol to non-Maldivians, kiss your tourism good bye.

  7. If alcohol is bad then why are we searching for ways to promote the drinking culture.Why can't promote Maldives as a alcohol and pork free destination........Isn't that a concept on which we can build our marketing strategy.I heard there are resorts that don't sell pork even.Won't there be tourist out there who don't drink or eat pork.I know that its a lot of money,big business and doors to all types of evil ,so easier said than done.

  8. this permission was given not because it would regulate and stop the blackmarket of alcohol trade. this is also not about what tourists want when they are in Maldives. this is only about a single hotel with no respect to our social values and tradition wanting to increase their profit.

  9. Let there be alcohol, whoever want to drink will do it. Let there be girls around, whoever want to screw them will do it. Let there be bombs, suicide bombers will choose to become a sucide bomber. Let there be Shittis, but do no let them stay among Sunnis.

  10. why do such a stupid thing to collect wrath of many people? only a few rich corrupts will be disappointed if the license was not given, but many common people will hate such a license. why is the government so blinded by some corporate greed upon the love of many?

  11. lets be ready to face so call terror, hope Anni is ready! VP said terror of Nov 3 happened Coz of govt, what will he say now when happened?

  12. what difference does it make what their intention (which we will never know) was?
    that it is safer and easier to monitor than giving liquor licenses to expatriates to buy and store alcohol at home is agreed yes?
    i see no reason to protest against something that is more efficient than what was previously implemented.

    i agree with fatumath, there really are more important things to a country than a hotel being allowed to sell alcohol (in a closed off room with only foreign people in it and that require breathalyzer tests to prove they're sober before they come out).

  13. this is good, this would give a slap on the thousand muullaz that sent letters to president. good that the government realized this country has more people who are not mullaz and jihadde style nuts

  14. aren't we Maldivians loving this alcohol affair..its all we ever talk abt.
    i wonder how much revenue HolidayInn or any other hotel will make from this new regulations, cox i tell you, even if i were a foreigner, im not going that bar, where CCTV and guards watch you and do breathing tests:( CHILDISH from all sides..

    we are not there yet, where people are responsible for their actions, where one respects the freedom of others and leave one's sins to oneself as long as it does not harm others.. not a smart move! International brands should focus on resort islands where our hypocritical double standards still work..

  15. is this a news report or an advertisement for the liquor law? to me it sounds more like an advertisement.
    there is neither objectivity nor good journalism in this report.
    here is something the reporter Mr.Laura Restrepo Ortega (whoever this maybe) failed to note: maldives is a 100% muslim country and majority of the people oppose selling liquor and pork in their doorstep


    Whereas, entrepreneurs are boozers are over the moon about it.

    Sappe.. I feel that you can do better than this! Be a little more responsible in the way you do present such articles.

    Well lets see where we go on from here. Apparently it seems that the President himself is going nuts. The PO has announced that unless and until such an annoucement is published in the Gazette, it does not come into effect. Wonder who is at the helm of the country...

  17. Good stance taken by the Government, at least for the time being unti 1 March 2010.

    " Economic Ministry's regulations does not come into effect, unless and until Mr. President (thinks that he should call the shots) gets the news published in the Govt. Gazette.

  18. millions of muslims live in secular countries and are accessible to bars and alcohol. does this mean they are lured into the bars under some magic spell?? I dont see the problem of a bar being opened in front of my own house! Who cares? Are we questioning our own faith and belief in Islam now? I dont understand the extent to which these NGO's are making a fuss over this alcohol issue. People, religion is just between you and God. No one has the right to question or judge you. Be a good muslim and have faith.

  19. This country's entire economy is based on selling vacations to bikini wearing, alcohol drinking infidels. I don't hear any Maldivians complaining about making money off of tourists.

    If this was really a 100% Muslim nation, you wouldn't allow expats or tourists to come here and buy these products that you supposedly hate. Everyone here knows who's buying the liquor on the black market. The Maldivians who don't have enough money to fly to Sri Lanka for the weekend.

  20. "Maldivians with foreign passports"? Who are they. I know there was a law that even said you can't be a Maldivian if you are not Sunni Muslim. Basically the right to be Maldivain by law is taken away. Then you get that right when you fly down with a foreign PP and try to have a beer?. Before you hit on me, please explain the logic behind this.


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