Art Dubai boosts cultural tourism
Tuesday 11, March 2014
Dubai tourist authorities are planning to host 20 million visitors by year 2020. First Choice is the campaign slogan to lure seasoned vacationers to the cosmopolitan wonderland of Dubai.
Strategic initiatives targeting upgrading the infrastructure, as well as enhancing and diversifying product offerings and destination marketing, are in effect. Dubai is not single-handedly tackling the tough venture of multiplying world traveler traffic to UAE. UNESCO has recently listed downtown Sharjah as a World Heritage site. The Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA) also reported an increase of 36% in tourist arrivals last January as compared to 2013 figures.
The collective endeavors of Dubai policymakers are actually reaping fruitful benefits. Last year, Dubai ranked 34 on the list of Most Innovative Cities worldwide. Apart from Dubai landmarks such as Burg Khalifa, its sophisticated marina, the mega mall of the Emirates, and the fabulous Burg Al Arab, the city has its subtle, creative side as well. Once in Dubai, enjoy an afternoon walk in Alserkal Avenue and recall fond memories of “Le Quartier Latin,” the art heart of Paris. The art district showcases art galleries, private museums, and creative arts and crafts studios with a Khaleeji flavor and twist.
Recently, the Wall Street Journal interviewed Benedict Floyd, co-founder of Art Dubai. He supported this year’s initiative of launching a new gallery hall dedicated to 20th century modern art. “We are aiming to give visitors the opportunity to make links between modern and contemporary practice,” he commented.
Emirates Airlines, as the world’s fastest-growing carrier, has enhanced Dubai’s positioning as a world-class hub for global competitive air travel and cargo operations. Culture tourism is boosting Dubai’s image as well as a world hub for corporate, culture, and leisure travel along with trendy entertainment. The World Village, a glitzy international film festival, plus media consortiums and book fairs are just the tip of the iceberg of what awaits to delight visitors in Dubai.
It is reported that attendance at Art Dubai recorded over 25,000 visitors in 2013. This year, an influx of art galleries, collectors, art connoisseurs, and professional media will reach a phenomenal mark. Eventually, art works of 500 international artists will be on display, and as the proverb goes, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” The art scene in Dubai is turning into becoming a melting pot, blending east and west while reflecting both rugged central Asia and hospitable Arabia.
The canvas of regional artists representing Bahrain, UAE, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, and central Asia, plus the pan-Arab mosaic is overwhelming. Nine art galleries will highlight UAE creative arts this year. Every year Dubai dedicates an entire month of arts initiatives covering the period of March 14-April 15, 2014. According to Shaikh Majid, Chairman of Dubai Culture, “The city has become an incubator for aspiring and emerging artistic talents.”
Madinat Jumeirah will host the 8th version of the Art Dubai Fair featuring 85 galleries representing 34 countries. Selective art works of Shaikh Rashid Al Khalifa and the late Nasser Al Youssif will reflect the Bahraini modern art style and distinctive tradition. It is a genuine contribution to the colorful annual fair. Art Dubai showcases three major themes this year, namely, the Marker program, contemporary arts, and modern arts. The art fair will celebrate exhibiting art works of the Slavs and Tatar artists. Central Asia and the Caucasus art work will be the focus for 2014. Yarat Contemporary Art Space is a non-profit organization promoting art in Azerbaijan. It will showcase the art pieces of eight promising young artists. This year’s program will feature moving images on film and is the fruit of a trio partnership of the Dubai International Film Festival, Sharjah Art Foundation, and Art Dubai.
In 2013, UAE ranked 28th in the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index. In the same year, it ranked number one in the MENA (Middle East & North Africa) region as a leading tourist destination. The travel index commends the endeavors of the gulf state, and “although UAE is not endorsed with rich natural resources, it has built a cultural resource base, attracting both leisure and business travelers … and increasingly diverse creative industries.”
Developers and policymakers of Dubai’s strategic initiatives are building up the city’s cultural assets and attractions to deliver a sensational World Expo 2020. Antonia Carver, Director of Art Dubai, is expecting that attendance of the 2014 art fair will exceed last year’s figures and flair. Long live an era of creative arts and exceptional “imagineering.”
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