With the recent opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the UAE has successfully attracted the niche market of art and cultural tourism. This will be a stepping stone to ensure UAE becomes a hub for authentic Arab art and culture. TravTalk delves deeper into similar art havens in the emirates.
His Excellency Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak
Department of Culture & Tourism, Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi’s cultural identity is shaped by a balanced consideration of the need to preserve our history, but create, at the same time, a forward looking and thriving cultural hub that inspires, engages and educates. A major moment in the 2017 international arts and culture calendar was the opening of Louvre Abu Dhabi, as the world was introduced to this most highly anticipated universal museum. This is a key component of our strategy, triggering increased awareness of the emirate’s ‘authentic Arabia’ experience and its position at the ‘crossroads’ of global intellectual and behavioral exchange. By stimulating visitation to the Louvre Abu Dhabi, to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, as well as to the museums and World Heritage Sites of Al Ain, these notable cultural attractions act as a driver of economic growth and diversification, helping develop Abu Dhabi as a global hub for cultural tourism.
Al Serkal Cultural Foundation
Founded in 2015 by Ahmad Bin Eisa Bin Nasser Alserkal, the foundation is an art hub that offers a platform to support Emirati and local emerging artists, designers with an aim of highlighting the Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood. ACF promotes its 115 artists on platforms such as art maps, travel apps, travel magazines, hence bridging the gap between artists, creative minds, art lovers and art enthusiasts. We receive visitors from all over the world, especially from Germany, Switzerland, UK, France, the USA, Japan, Belgium, Italy, Sweden, China, GCC countries, Korea and as well local UAE art lovers. Most art tourists visit us to experience the heritage drenched atmosphere of Al Fahidi for the marriage of old and new, historic and contemporary unique art pieces, but locally made with a touch of the Arabic culture, souvenirs and Arabic traditional clothing. Alserkal Cultural Foundation is in collaboration with individual tour guides, tour operators and companies, hotels. We recently held a tour operators’ day out at the foundation which was aimed at creating more awareness of the foundation activities to the tour guides and eventually to the clients.
Abdulla Al Dah
Chief Executive Officer
Al Shaab Village
Al Shaab Village was specially designed to preserve the cultural heritage of Sharjah yet offer something unique to our visitors who seek novel ideas and facilities. Our fully-integrated state-of-the-art facility which is currently a permanent exhibition center is to be enjoyed by residents and tourists right throughout the year with interesting activities. Al Shaab Village has been established as a family destination with products from different countries with additional products from India, China, among others. Food wise the delectable offerings include Arabic, Indian, Italian, etc. We have a special discount booklet specially designed for tourists with our travel agents, hotel partners and tour operators and this has lured more visitors to leave with many interesting purchases with a very positive attitude. I have a very efficient, proactive and supportive team that partakes in strengthening the facility.
Sumayya Al Suwaidi
Community and Events Manager
Department of Culture and Tourism, Al Ain
As one of the world’s oldest permanently inhabited settlements, and home to the UAE’s only UNESCO World Heritage sites, Al Ain is a beacon of culture and heritage in the UAE. Al Ain preserves and promotes historic sites and celebrates the UAE’s tangible and intangible heritage. The Al Ain Cultural Programme launched in 2016 has attracted an audience of over a quarter of a million visitors with a variety of artistic and cultural initiatives for residents and tourists alike. The array of events in Al Ain includes musical performances, visual arts workshops and exhibitions as well as a diverse selection of activities that immerse participants in UAE culture and tradition. The cultural programme has been significant in both reinforcing our national pride within the local community and also in giving tourists and visitors a unique and authentic insight into the heritage of the UAE. Al Ain is home to the oldest museums in the UAE and the curatorial narrative of these museums and cultural sites are integral to the development of the museums that will be located in the Saadiyat Cultural District. Visitors to the museums on Saadiyat Island will see artefacts that were discovered during the archaeological excavations in Al Ain which unearthed Bronze Age burial sites and settlements.
Abu Dhabi Art
Over the past nine years, Abu Dhabi Art’s programming and participating art galleries have evolved the fair into a dynamic and engaging event for all – drawing over 20,000 visitors from across the globe last year. The fair’s global reach expands every year and arts enthusiasts who visit Abu Dhabi Art are undoubtedly also attracted to the range of artistic and cultural offerings in the capital and Al Ain region, as Abu Dhabi seeks to promote, celebrate, and foster Emirati and Arab artistic and cultural endeavours, thereby helping develop Abu Dhabi as a global hub for cultural tourism.