Actually it seems likely that the loosening of LONG HELD Sharia Law Rules is more of an economic issue than a religious one!
UAE has had problems in the past with tourists and guest workers running afoul of Sharia Law requirements! Thus in these desperate economic times - the UAE govt is seeking to woo tourists! And of course UAE DOES NOT want to get into public and angry debates with its any of its own people regarding why the foreigners get to do as they please while locals must obey Sharia Law or be condemned as blasphemers!
We should assume that UAE govt simply assumes that social pressures and family discipline will keep locals in line and ensure that only foreigners behave as if they were living in Sodom!
UAE is probably like a LOT of Muslim countries - with a substantial population of YOUNG PEOPLE who tend to be rebellious when gathered in large numbers!