Published on : Sunday, April 23, 2017
According to a new report, Saudi Arabia and Oman will lead the GCC’s multi-billion dollar investments in cultural tourism, with a string of projects to develop new world-class attractions. Colliers International said that Saudi Arabia is ready to invest up to $2 billion – one of the highest commitments of any government to cultural tourism in the region, under Saudi Vision 2030.
The vision says that the Kingdom will increase number of public and private museums from 155 to 241, increase the number of UNESCO World Heritage sites from four to 10 and increase the number of archaeological sites suitable to visit from 75 to 155.
Additionally, the Kingdom will increase the number of archaeological heritage sites from 10 to 28 and increase the number of activities and cultural events from 190 currently to 400 annually.
This report was published prior to ATM taking place in Dubai World Trade later this month. To quote Simon Press, senior exhibition director, Arabian Travel Market, “Cultural tourism sits perfectly alongside this year’s theme of experiential travel as travellers look to explore destinations and enjoy a more holistic holiday experience. What we see today in Saudi Arabia, and other GCC countries, is an open commitment to strengthen this sector and capitalise on the current global trend.”
Press added, “Across the GCC, there is a rising demand for authentic and enriching travel, full of experiences and opportunities to learn about the unique history and culture of this region. For this reason, we can expect many more project announcements of this kind over the coming years.”
Abu Dhabi’s Saadiyat Island will get a further impetus with regional and international visitors when the first of its highly-anticipated museums, opens later this year. By 2020, the island will be home to Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Louvre Abu Dhabi and the Zaha Hadid designed, Zayed National Museum.
This year’s ATM will have a wide variety of emirates and countries focusing on culture in their strategies, including Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, Qatar, Bahrain, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India.