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Wed 21 Mar 2012 07:04 PM

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Dubai eyes cultural district to lure high-end tourists

Art museum, two hotels and opera house to be built in Downtown Dubai mega-project

Dubai eyes cultural district to lure high-end tourists
Dubai eyes cultural district to lure high-end tourists

Dubai announced plans on Wednesday to follow neighbour Abu Dhabi in establishing a cultural district which will include a museum, two art hotels and an opera house.

Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, also UAE vice president and prime minister, announced the launch of the Dubai Modern Art Museum and Opera House District to be located in Emaar's flagship Downtown Dubai.

The Dubai Modern Art Museum and Opera House District aims to build on Dubai's 50 art galleries and festivals such as Art Dubai in attracting high-end cultural tourists, state news agency WAM reported.

Sheikh Mohammed said: "The cultural accomplishments of a nation define its character and individuality. Having demonstrated our credentials in hosting world-class cultural events, UAE has established itself as a thriving destination for culture and the arts.

"We will continue to strengthen the infrastructure framework for promoting cultural initiatives, through projects such as the Dubai Modern Art Museum and Opera House District.

"This will not only encourage our talented local artists but also facilitate global cultural exchange."

Mohamed Alabbar, chairman of Emaar Properties, added: "With Dubai Modern Art Museum and Opera House District, we are further building on the support that Emaar extends to arts and culture.

"It will be Dubai's definitive entertainment destination that stimulates creativity, supports the arts sector, and also offers visitors their choice of hospitality and leisure."

He said the Dubai Modern Art Museum and Opera House District would include an Opera House, modern art museum, galleries and design studios, as well as two new art hotels and several residential apartments and design studios.

In Abu Dhabi, the $27bn Saadiyat Island is set to have local branches of New York University and the Louvre and Guggenheim Museums, among other prominent projects.

Robert 7 years ago

Back on 26 March 2008 Dubai launched the 'Khor Dubai' Cultural Project which aimed to transform the banks of Dubai Creek into the cultural hub of the city.

Khor Dubai was to include 72 new cultural icons.....including ten new museums to be created on the banks of the creek, starting from the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) Museum that was announced recently, museums of culture, heritage and contemporary arts and science.

Nine public libraries would also be set up, dedicated to poetry, music and literature. The project will also include thirteen theatres, an opera house, galleries, cultural and artistic institutes, besides workshops for local and foreign artists as well as residents.

So what happened to Khor Dubai - or are we to have competing Emaar and Dubai Properties opera houses and cultural districts?

Amused in Dubai 7 years ago

Announcing things is cheaper than building them.

also amused 7 years ago

What is it with the copy cat mentality ?
How about finishing what you have started first of all.

Roger 7 years ago

Why would anybody go to the UAE when all the arts, music libraries are in London, Paris, Milan Madrid etc..

Amused in Dubai 7 years ago

Because not everybody can afford (time or money wise) to travel to Europe, nor everybody can get visas.
there is an opportunity for Dubai/Bahrein/any ambitious city to become a gateway for (mostly) South Asian but also ME or Africans, even Chinese. Certainly not for European tourists.
I thought this had been discussed before quite a few times...

Having said that, I am highly skeptical of the ability to deliver. And this specific announcement carries very little weight in my eyes.

BTW I just discovered there is an Opera House in Muscat.

Matt 7 years ago

100 times better hotels, better hospitality, bigger and better malls, better weather, and a lot of activities enables Dubai to beat a lot of the european cities.

LOL @ Madrid and Milan. When was the last time you were in Madrid and Milan? Hotels in these cities are inhospitable and in need of serious renovations.

Jon 7 years ago

Matt - The article is related to culture. Since when was a shopping mall, weather or hotels classed as culture?

And by the way, Dubai only has better weather in the winter time - not so great the other 7-8 months of the year. Europe is far better then. When you can visit the theatre and maybe some museums if the weather turns out not so great....

procan 7 years ago

@matt it is not and attack on beautiful Dubai. European culture deeply different and cannot be duplicated when My wife and I think of Europe we do not think of Malls and Glitziest 100 story hotels. We think a Vespa scooter slowly climbing up the side of a mountain with a bottle local french grape a baguette and some cheese in the carry basket going for a romantic picnic. Latter dinner in a neighborhood restaurant and walking back along river arm and arm .The next day a fast train to the coast, and a day at the beach practiceing my french and Italian perhaps.Dubai,s perhaps the best weather,maybe. Matt but spring time in Pairs, Sept,Oct October in Germany oh my, only in Europe.

gordon 7 years ago

There is no uniform type of person who comes to Dubai.
It has a lot to offer for tourists.. If you asked someone 4 years ago if they thought the idea of sky diving would be popular here, not doubt it would have met with a lot of sceptism,

This would be an added attraction and help attract more tourists.

I for one would love to see a cultural centre, Opera, Theatre etc.

Oli69 7 years ago

This is exactly what Dubai needs. I really don't understand the negative comments. Instead of welcoming a good initiative people only come up with the usual standard comments.. Of course Europe will always have a more comprehensive cultural offer, that is undisputed. However, what is the problem with trying to develop local talent in Dubai, and maybe bringing international exhibitions and fairs to this city? Look at Art Dubai and its success. It adds another dimension to this city, which is already a top international tourist destination, and provides an increased standard of living to both the local population and us expats. I fully welcome this initiative. The cities that should really be worried are Abu Dhabi and Doha, who try miserably to compete with Dubai that is 10 steps ahead and will always be! Keep trying Qatar, keep trying...