From a population of 25,000 in 1960, the city of 1.2 million inhabitants is now one of the best connected destinations in the Middle East thanks to Eithad Airways and is investing several billion euros to become a leading cultural destination.
The Emirate of Abu Dhabi, which has seen its economy grow in recent decades thanks to the exploitation of its oil reserves (8.6% of the world's oil reserves) and natural gas reserves (5% of natural gas reserves), is diversifying its economy to last in the long term. Just as Dubai has made tourism its spearhead, the capital of the United Arab Emirates intends to assert its place in the region through culture. Thus, on the island of Saadiyat, a mega project worth 27 billion US dollars aims to turn this desert land into an international cultural hub.
The Saadiyat Island project includes 5 winners of the Pritzker Architecture Award and 4 museums that aim to be world renowned. The Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum, inaugurated in November 2017, is the largest museum on the Arabian Peninsula and contains 35,000 works of art. The Guggenheim, Zayed National Museum and Maritime Museum are also in the planning stages and could thus give new impetus to the Emirate's tourist appeal.
If these projects are carried out, the construction of this new district would create opportunities for hotel groups. There are 21 properties in the city's pipeline, representing more than 5,600 rooms. In 2017, 4.9 million visitors visited Abu Dhabi, up 9.8%. France is the leading supply country in Europe with 76,355 tourists in 2017, up 18% the year the Louvre opened.
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