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Wed 20 Sep 2017 01:14 PM

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Saudi Arabia reveals $2.7bn plan to expand entertainment sector

Public Investment Fund says to set up company to invest in new leisure projects from 2019

Saudi Arabia reveals $2.7bn plan to expand entertainment sector
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) has announced it is in the process of developing a new company to act as its investment arm in the Gulf kingdom’s growing entertainment sector.

The company, which will have an initial capitalisation of SR10 billion ($2.67 billion), will seek to attract strategic partnerships to build the entertainment eco-system within the country, a statement said.

PIF said the company is planning to invest in a number of entertainment projects, which include an entertainment complex that will be launched by 2019.

By the end of 2030, the company’s projects aim to serve more than 50 million visitors annually and create more than 22,000 jobs in the kingdom.

The company will expand the scope and variety of entertainment offerings and will enable the development of and provide incentives for the entertainment sector.

PIF added that the move is consistent with the ambitions within Vision 2030 to increase the kingdom’s cultural and entertainment offering, to create new employment opportunities, and to make use of the wealth of talent and energy among Saudi’s youth.

Last year, a new body called the General Entertainment Authority charged with developing, promoting, regulating and funding infrastructure for an entertainment industry in the Gulf kingdom was established.

In 2016, Six Flags Entertainment Corp also announced plans for Saudi Arabia which will probably include three parks, with the first to open in 2020 or 2021.

The parks, which each cost between $300 and $500 million to build, will likely be owned by the Saudi government.

The first park is tentatively planned for Riyadh. Others may follow in Jeddah and at a resort elsewhere on the western Red Sea coast.

Developing the leisure sector is fraught with difficulties in Saudi Arabia, which adheres to a strict social code where women are required to wear plain loose-fitting robes, cinemas are banned and public spaces are gender-segregated.

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