Dubai announced plans on Wednesday to follow neighbour Abu Dhabi in establishing a cultural district which will include a museum, two art hotels and an opera house.

Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, also UAE vice president and prime minister, announced the launch of the Dubai Modern Art Museum and Opera House District to be located in Emaar's flagship Downtown Dubai.

The Dubai Modern Art Museum and Opera House District aims to build on Dubai's 50 art galleries and festivals such as Art Dubai in attracting high-end cultural tourists, state news agency WAM reported.

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Sheikh Mohammed said: "The cultural accomplishments of a nation define its character and individuality. Having demonstrated our credentials in hosting world-class cultural events, UAE has established itself as a thriving destination for culture and the arts.


"We will continue to strengthen the infrastructure framework for promoting cultural initiatives, through projects such as the Dubai Modern Art Museum and Opera House District.

"This will not only encourage our talented local artists but also facilitate global cultural exchange."

Mohamed Alabbar, chairman of Emaar Properties, added: "With Dubai Modern Art Museum and Opera House District, we are further building on the support that Emaar extends to arts and culture.

"It will be Dubai's definitive entertainment destination that stimulates creativity, supports the arts sector, and also offers visitors their choice of hospitality and leisure."

He said the Dubai Modern Art Museum and Opera House District would include an Opera House, modern art museum, galleries and design studios, as well as two new art hotels and several residential apartments and design studios.

In Abu Dhabi, the $27bn Saadiyat Island is set to have local branches of New York University and the Louvre and Guggenheim Museums, among other prominent projects.