There has long been speculation that Saudi hotels should relax their alcohol restrictions to attract tourists from around the world.
The Luxury Collection NEOM, located on the island of Sindalah in Saudi Arabia, has put out a call for mixologists and bartenders ahead of its opening next year – although the hotel’s operator, Marriott, says the offers job was an error and has been removed.
Saudi Arabia bans alcohol, but there has long been speculation that it should ease the restriction to grow its global tourism industry.
The job description for a “beverage/mixology attendant” was as follows: posted on Marriott careers website THURSDAY. It read in part: “(The candidate must) prepare drink orders for guests according to specified recipes using measuring systems. Take out, open and serve bottles of wine/champagne. And later: “Secure liquor, beer, wine, coolers, cabinets and storage areas. »
As of Thursday, Skift was able to see 28 vacancies at Marriott in Saudi Arabia that mention alcohol in the job description, from serving champagne to knowing state and federal alcohol laws. These positions included bartending roles at the Red Sea Resorts, another island project near Sindalah.
Marriott said the messages were posted by automated systems and were being removed. A spokesperson said in a statement: “We looked into the matter and found that the postings were due to an error in our HR system, which was automatically uploading our job description templates for similar roles in the F&B sector. »
As of Friday, the job posting referring to “mixology” simply said “Beverage Attendant” and references to alcohol had been removed.
NEOM did not immediately respond to Skift’s request for a statement.
At a conference in Dubai last year, Andrew McEvoy, former head of tourism at NEOM, said on stage that “alcohol was not ruled out” as part of the project. McEvoy resigned from his position and left the country after the conference. Two weeks later, the local government declared it would not legalize alcohol.
Saudi Press Agency issued a statement surrounding McEvoy’s comments at the conference, stating that his comments do not reflect the country’s plans or beliefs.
“No need” for alcohol in Saudi Arabia
In an April 2023 interview with the Future Investment Initiative Institute, Red Sea Group CEO John Pagano said serving alcohol was “not on the agenda.” He continued: “I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary. The soft drinks industry is booming.