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Fri 6 Mar 2020 01:33 AM

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The importance of entertainment to Saudi Arabia's GDP growth

New CBRE research says music, sports and social events will play a key role in expanding the kingdom's wider entertainment offering

The importance of entertainment to Saudi Arabia's GDP growth

CBRE said that with an additional 45 cinemas expected to enter the market by 2020, the kingdom will reap the benefits of enhanced footfall in the coming years.

Saudi Arabia’s real estate industry continues to be well-positioned to benefit from the growth of the kingdom’s fledgling entertainment industry, according to a new CBRE report.

The global real estate advisor's new white paper reveals that the kingdom’s GDP is expected to grow at a rate of 6.5 percent between 2019 and 2024, to exceed SR4 trillion by the end of the forecast period.

With the country’s efforts to diversify its economy, the entertainment sector is expected to be one of the key non-oil sectors continuing to contribute to wider GDP growth within the kingdom, CBRE noted.   

As well as entertainment-led developments and mixed-use masterplans with entertainment components, key infrastructure projects coupled with government initiatives are expected to boost Saudi Arabia’s entertainment sector.

Projects, such as Qiddiya Entertainment City, The Red Sea Project, AMAALA, Al Ula, King Salman Park and Riyadh Sport Boulevard, are expected to be completed in 2030, CBRE said.   

It added that music, sports and social events will also play a key role in expanding the kingdom’s wider entertainment offering and capitalising on the strong demand for a differentiated experience among the Saudi population.

Based on the latest figures from 2018, a total of 5,000 events were held across the kingdom, more than double the figure from the previous year.

2019 followed along the same upward trend, following the launch of Saudi Seasons, an events program initiative by the Saudi Commission Tourism & National Heritage (SCTH) and the General Entertainment Authority (GEA) in March 2019.     

The CBRE report also highlights the importance of family entertainment centres and edutainment in helping to bolster the growing entertainment sector.

With an additional 45 cinemas expected to enter the market by 2020, the kingdom will reap the benefits of enhanced footfall in the coming years, said Simon Townsend, general manager (KSA) who added: “The growth of the entertainment sector has had a significant impact on the real estate market, with effects witnessed most directly within the retail and hospitality sectors across the kingdom’s cities.

"As the kingdom’s entertainment industry expands, these sectors are expected to follow, through the introduction of community and neighbourhood malls as well as stronger hotel occupancies. Entertainment-led projects and developments are instrumental in shaping an integrated market of leisure, hospitality and tourism for Saudi Arabia, positioning the Kingdom as a global destination of choice.”

Nicholas Maclean, managing director, CBRE MENAT said: “It is clear that Saudi Arabia remains one of the game changers in the entertainment sectors globally. The continuous stream of paradigm shifts, from new visa implementation, female empowerment initiatives to the introduction of robust entertainment offerings, it is evident that the kingdom has much more to offer.”

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