Qatar moved one step closer to realizing its vision of a new National Museum this week, awarding Hyundai Engineering & Construction a $434 million contract to build the structure.
The building, which has been designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, will take about three years to erect, South Korea-based Hyundai said.
When completed, the National Museum, which looks like a desert rose that appears to grow out of the ground, will join the Museum of Islamic Art, which opened in 2008, and the Arab Museum of Modern Art (Mathaf), which opened late last year.
Why Qatar is spending so much time, money and effort into shoring up its cultural ante is up for debate.
The National reports:
The prize is a growing segment of regional tourists seeking attractions closer to home.
“There is a whole group of tourists who don’t have the interest or funds to travel outside the region,” said Rob O’Hanlon, an Oman-based partner in Deloitte. Unlike the World Cup and other sporting events, which attract tourists for a short time, cultural sites are year-round draws, Mr O’Hanlon said.
“The key is widening the offering to make it worthwhile [for tourists] to spend the cost.”
Qatar is currently a bit player on the regional tourism scene. It attracted a million tourists last year compared to 13 million for Egypt, 12 million in Saudi Arabia and nine million in the UAE, according to Euromonitor International.
What do you guys think? Will Qatar’s slew of new museums help it attract the high-class tourists it seeks?
Image by Artefactory/Ateliers Jean Nouvel.