Saudi cities target world's top 100 for quality of life

Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam are focus of Saudi program amid continuing cultural revolution
Saudi cities target world's top 100 for quality of life
The government plans to invest SR50.9 billion into this cultural revolution, while courting private investors and foreign partners for the rest of the investments.
By Sam Bridge
Fri 19 Apr 2019 09:41 AM

Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam aim to become among the top 100 cities in the world for providing quality of life by opening 45 cinemas by 2020, a senior official has said.

Bader Alzahrani, CEO of Saudi Arabia's General Commission for Audiovisual Media (GCAM) said the cinema sector will see "significant growth" amid GCAM’s efforts to facilitate and promote national and foreign investment.

Alzahrani was a keynote speaker at the Cinema Build KSA Forum which took place in Riyadh this week.

The forum took place as Saudi Arabia’s government aims to invest SR130 billion in culture and leisure by 2020.

This movement has been translated in several mega projects including 16 entertainment complexes, an aquatic centre and three other huge entertainment hubs.

All are part of part of the Quality of Life program which aims to develop and diversify entertainment opportunities to meet the needs of the population and develop Saudi Arabia's contribution in both arts and culture.

The program also aims to increase of the number of out-of-home entertainment venues from 154 to 260 by 2020 and to raise the available retail space in shopping malls from 0.15 to 0.19 sq m per capita.

The government plans to invest SR50.9 billion into this cultural revolution, while courting private investors and foreign partners for the rest of the investments.

It is estimated that more than 4.5 million Saudis travel abroad annually for tourism and entertainment, spending around SR80 billion on movies and visits to amusement parks in the neighboring tourist hubs of Dubai and Bahrain.

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.

Leila Masinaei, managing partner at Great Minds Event Management, the organiser of Cinema Build KSA Forum, said: “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.”

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