EVEN as Abu Dhabi announced plans to target the cultural sector with the largest Guggenheim museum in the world, it recorded a 17 per cent annual growth in its tourism sector over the past few years.
The new museum, to be designed by internationally renowned architect Frank Gehry, will form its own major collection of contemporary art and will also exhibit masterworks from the Guggenheim Foundation’s global collections. Other museums in the area include a national museum, classical art museum, maritime museum, performing arts centre and an expansive arts centre park. Negotiations are on with other international institutions such as the Louvre, home to the Mona Lisa in Paris.
According to a study by the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), the 17 per cent annual growth follows a 62 per cent increase in the gross domestic product (GDP) over five years. “The tourism industry, including those sectors directly in contact with visitors, generated Dh3.7 billion ($1 billion) of GDP in 2005, or 1.2 per cent of the economy. Excluding the oil sector, the relative importance of the direct tourism industry jumps to three per cent of GDP,” ADTA’s Mubarak Hamad Al Muhairi said.
The total economic impact of tourism was Dh8.7 billion in 2005, or 2.9 per cent of the economy.
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