Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
PHOTO BY ARCHIVE
RIYADH – Saudi Arabia’s government has announced an initiative to invest 130 billion riyals in culture and leisure by 2020 aimed at creating a true cultural community to enjoy theatres and cinemas.
This movement has been translated in several mega projects including 16 entertainment complexes, an aquatic center and three other huge entertainment hubs.
All are part of an offer to ensure that Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam become among the top 100 cities in the world for providing Quality of Life, a program which aims to develop and diversify entertainment opportunities to meet the needs of the population; and develop the Saudi contribution in both arts and culture.
The Quality of Life program also targets to increase of the number of out-of-home entertainment venues from 154 to 260 by 2020 and aims to raise the available retail space in shopping malls from 0.15 to 0.19 sqm per capita.
In addition, the government plans to invest 50.9 billion riyals into this cultural revolution, while courting private investors and foreign partners for the rest of the investments.
The Kingdom’s decision to lift the 35-year ban on cinemas in December 2017 has opened opportunities for international and regional companies to help develop the domestic entertainment industry.
As the world eyes Saudi’s efforts to open for social and entertainment activities, in connection with the kingdom Vision 2030 program that aims to pursue economic reforms with efforts to reduce dependence on oil, Saudi Arabia is unlocking the massive potential of their cinema market and aggressively inviting global and local providers to participate in these business opportunities.
“The world is witnessing Saudi Arabia’s confident steps toward an unprecedented era of social and economic reforms. The cinema ban lift opens doors to untrodden grounds for investments and lucrative revenue streams for the Kingdom and the entertainment sector stakeholders,” said Leila Masinaei, the Managing Partner at Great Minds Event Management behind Cinema Build KSA forum , which kicks off on April 14 and 15 at the Four Seasons hotel in Riyadh.
“Cinema Build KSA invites all stakeholders to explore the opportunities in the entertainment sector, as reports expecting at least 300 cinemas, in addition to numerous Family Entertainment Centers to be built by 2030,” Masinaei added.
With more than 4.5 million Saudis travelling abroad annually for tourism and entertainment spending around 80 billion riyals on movies and visits to amusement parks in the neighboring tourist hubs of Dubai and Bahrain, the government plans a 240 billion riyal investment to build the domestic entertainment and tourism industry offering Saudi citizens a series of entertainment and leisure products developed in an international level at their doorsteps to revive the entertainment and leisure industry and provide a boost to the wider economy.
Saudi Arabia’s General Commission for Audiovisual Media CEO, Bader Alzahrani said: “The cinema sector in Saudi Arabia will see significant growth, especially with GCAM’s continuous efforts to facilitate and promote national and foreign investment to enter the sector. At the same time, GCAM is working toward achieving Quality of Life Program’s goal by opening 45 cinemas by 2020, with emphasis on providing various different entertainment opportunities for everyone, which will enhance and contribute to diversifying the economy”.
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