Authorities in Abu Dhabi have announced the opening dates for a series of high-profile museums planned for the emirate.
Ambitious plans to turn Abu Dhabi into a cultural hub by opening branches of famous museums such as Paris's Louvre and New York's Guggenheim originally ran into problems last year, prompting many to speculate whether or not the developments would go ahead.
However, Abu Dhabi's Tourism Development & Investment Company (TDIC) said January 25 that the timeline for the three key museums on Saadiyat Island -- the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Zayed National Museum and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi -- has now been finalized.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi will open its doors in 2015, the Zayed National Museum in 2016 and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi in 2017, the company said.
The Louvre will be designed by French architect Jean Nouvel and will feature a dome 180 meters in diameter, TDIC said, while the Zayed National Museum -- conceived in association with the London-based British Museum -- will be designed by British architect Lord Norman Forster.
The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will echo Gulf architecture and will be designed by US architect Frank Gehry -- it is described as a 'pre-eminent platform for local, regional and global contemporary art and culture.'
Although the new dates will see the museums completed some three years behind schedule, the delay doesn't seem to be having much of an effect on visitor numbers.
The emirate posted record tourism figures for 2011 earlier this month, with 2.1 million guests checking into hotels and a 22 percent jump in the number of guest nights spent.