The president of Musée du Louvre, Jean-Luc Martinez, recently said that it is turning into even more significant for it to widen the appeal to foreign visitors, particularly people from China. Overall, Musée du Louvre in Paris had a record ten million visitors in 2018, so far. In 2017, the French government issued a million tourist visas to people from China, out of which a majority came to the national museum.
Jean-Luc Martinez said, “This means, really, that the day that France is giving out two million visas, we will see 800,000 more visitors, from the Chinese public alone. And 75% of our visitors are foreigners.”
General changes to encourage visitors to take Louvre Museum private tours will comprise Saturday nighttime opening, better signposting, and underlining of more artworks by foreign artists.
“Asian art is barely present [in Paris] even though the biggest number of visitors are Chinese, ahead of Brazilians and Koreans. The Chinese public is seeking Chinese art at the Louvre. In terms of planning our exhibits, this is something we need to think about,” Martinez added.
The new move comes well ahead of a proposed 30th anniversary celebration of the completion of the glass pyramid in its courtyard by Ieoh Ming Pei. This will mark three decades since work completed on the “Grand Louvre” pyramid project, which the museum president termed, “One of the keys to the Louvre’s success”.
Its move towards a more global outlook has been inspired partly by a branch of Louvre in Abu Dhabi, which opened in 2017. Martinez said that the Louvre Abu Dhabi has “more universal” exhibit than the Parisian museum, and is covering “all cultures and periods from prehistory to modern art”. He also added that more than sixty percent visitors to its Abu Dhabi branch are middle-class travelers from select regions of the Asian subcontinent. “Abu Dhabi is showing the way for the future of Paris and Europe,” Martinez said.
The success of Musée du Louvre comes only three years since the terrorist attacks in the French capital that threatened to damage its tourism; however, the site quickly recovered. “After the 2015 attacks, we lost a third of our visitors,” Martinez said. “But in 2001, after the World Trade Center attacks, the Louvre lost 40% of its visitors [too]. So we had experience in the matter. The [recovery] went faster than we thought.”