Louvre Abu Dhabi director Manuel Rabate said museums are never profitable entities
The Louvre Abu Dhabi, opening its doors today, will prioritise visitors over profit, according to museum director Manuel Rabaté.
The museum will charge AED60 per adult entry, but will offer free entry for children under 13 years of age.
“Before the profit, [comes] the audience. The ticketing is a way of getting revenue, but also keeping the museum attractive for the visitors," said Rabaté.
"It’s part of the business plan, ticketing is always a main source of revenue for museums, but a museum, in its environment, is true to the public, true to its content, [and] true for the economy.
"We will be part of [the Abu Dhabi economy] through our sponsorship strategy. Today, we want to have long term partnerships with corporates, [but] you will not easily rent a room at the louvre.
"This is something we will give in exchange for real commitment from brands, from companies, to work with us, because we think the museum is about consistency, so we definitely prefer long term commitment," he added.
However, Rabaté assured the museum’s success will not be measured by its revenue, but by its outreach to the Abu Dhabi community and its role in attracting tourists to the capital.
“A museum, in itself, is never a profitable entity. But it is something that creates positive externalities, because it participates in the development of education and of attractiveness; it’s very important for tourism.
"You have to understand the breadth of the museums of Saadiyat Island, because you also have the Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, [as opposed to taking] each one’s breakeven point separately. They are part of a dynamic, holistic investment,” he added.
Rabaté said the museum’s success will be measured by its outreach to the Abu Dhabi community, as well as its role in attracting tourists to the capital.
“When it comes to measuring success, I think there are two ways... The first one is to root the Louvre Abu Dhabi in the community, in the city, in the UAE. The way we analyse our success will be how many Emiratis, residents, schools [visit the museum]; the real outreach to the community.
“The second [way], which is a big priority in terms of Abu Dhabi development, is integration in tourist flows. I think that the Louvre Abu Dhabi will benefit from Abu Dhabi and the UAE being destinations. It will capture some of this [tourist] flow. [Tourists] are already coming there. They may be in transit, they may come to the region or the UAE, but I think we will attract part of them.
"We could be one of the reasons why you come to Abu Dhabi or the UAE. So in this case, we will create the flows and then distribute them to Abu Dhabi and the UAE. [This] is closely linked to the economy of Abu Dhabi,” he said.
The museum, which is the first to hold the French name outside of France, has been in the making for over a decade. The project, a 30-year partnership between France and the UAE, is reported to be worth $1.1 billion, with nearly half a billion dollars dedicated to the rights of the Louvre brand.
French President Emmanuel Macron will be among those attending today’s historic opening, along with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and Morocco’s King Mohammed VI.
“We are in a colossal, important, critical investment by Abu Dhabi in knowledge, culture and education,” Rabaté said of the opening.