Credit : WAM/Ahlam Al Mazrooi/Chris Moran
The French Ambassador to the UAE, Ludovic Pouille, met on Monday, July 3rd, with H.E. Mohammed Al Mubarak and H.E. Saif Saeed Ghobash, respectively Chairman and Director General of Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA), for discussions on extending bilateral ties between the UAE and France and cultural cooperation.
France is currently the emirate’s 4th largest European source market, welcoming in 2016 some 65,000 hotel guests, an increase of 9 % on the previous year, generating 226,000 guest nights. These figures are expected to markedly improve with the opening of Louvre Abu Dhabi later this year, one of the highest levels of cultural cooperation ever between two sovereign countries.
Relations between France and the UAE were further strengthened in December last year as the President of the French Republic, François Hollande, traveled to Abu Dhabi for the Safeguarding Endangered Cultural Heritage Conference which he closed along with H.H. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed. The conference, attended by Presidents, Heads of State and senior dignitaries from more than 40 countries, is the result of a joint French-United Arab Emirates initiative which forms the cultural aspect of the fight already waged against terrorism militarily and politically.
The global conference helped to put in place new tools to safeguard heritage under threat from terrorism and armed conflict. The 40 participating States committed to create an international fund for the protection of endangered cultural heritage and the establishment of an international network of safe havens for the protection of cultural property at risk.
Numerous other cultural initiatives between France and the UAE have also been delivered this year, including the theatre training and production “Trance-forms”, the equestrian performances directed and choreographed by Bartabas as part the of the Emirati-French Cultural Programme and other activities such as the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse for the Abu Dhabi Classics music programme.