Saudi Arabia and Oman are leading the GCC in terms of investments in cultural tourism.
According to a report by Colliers International, Saudi Arabia has expressed readiness to invest as much as $2bn in cultural attractions, with several projects and targets set out under Saudi Vision 2030.
The amount is reportedly one of the largest commitments to cultural tourism made by any government in the region.
Vision 2030 aims to increase the number of museums from 155 to 241; the number of UNESCO world heritage sites from four to 10; archaeological sites suitable for visitors from 75 to 155; and archaeological heritage sites from 10 to 28.
Oman, meanwhile, pledged in 2015 investments worth $2.5bn for the Omagine project, a mixed-use development set on 99ha of prime beachfront facing the Gulf of Oman. The development project is said to integrate cultural, heritage, educational, entertainment, and residential elements.
The report noted that once completed, the Omagine project will add to the sultanate’s growing cultural tourism sector, which includes 18 museums, four UNESCO world heritage sites, the Royal Opera House Muscat, the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque.
In the UAE, the number of visitors to Saadiyat Island is expected to receive a boost when the Louvre Abu Dhabi opens later this year. By 2020, the island will also be home to the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and the Zayed National Museum.
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