A new chapter begins later today in Saudi Arabia, with the unveiling of the Master Plan for Qiddiya, the largest integrated entertainment city in the world.
With a first phase due to open at the end of 2022, Qiddiya is a “first” for Saudi Arabia. The “giga-project” will be the Kingdom’s capital of entertainment, sports and the arts.
Located just 45 km from Riyadh, the 334 square kilometre site is the same size as Las Vegas.
Full details are to be announced later, but highlights will include a major outdoor entertainment venue, a Six Flags park, and a 15km performance driving course.
HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, Chairman, General Sports Authority
“Family entertainment is one of the key components into achieving a better lifestyle within Saudi for the citizens of Saudi and also for the residents of Saudi. But also it opens a lot of new boundaries that we have experienced in the General Sports Authority throughout the past couple of years .So to put family as a centre point towards the attraction of Qiddiya and the entertainment and the lifestyle within Qiddiya I think is the future of Saudi.”
Saudi Arabia has a young population- with 67% under the age of 35. 69% of it is classed as mid to high-earning: a huge market for family entertainment and cultural experiences.
This young, affluent and mobile demographic has until now had to travel outside the country in order to access top-class family entertainment.
By providing these experiences within the Kingdom, Qiddiya aims to reduce the “revenue leakage” from the Saudi market. Money that would be spent abroad will return to the domestic economy, boosting growth and GDP.
Diversification of the economy is central to Saudi’s Vision 2030, and Qiddiya is the incarnation of this. The project will create 17,000 new jobs, at the same time contributing to a 2% decline in Riyadh’s unemployment.
Michael Reininger, Chief Executive Officer, Qiddiya Investment Company
“In order for us to be successful in the long term we have to build a workforce that has the right training and development and education at all levels- from the professional level through education but also everything from on the job training and orientation. So in order to do that we know at every stage of the game- training and development of a long term workforce is part and parcel of what our requirements are.”
For investors, Qiddiya opens up access to a previously untapped market- with 30 million people on its doorstep.The project’s organisational structure has been developed to allow maximum flexibility for potential investment.
Amr Banaja, Chief Executive Officer, General Entertainment Authority
“With investors what they want is they want demand. They want people that are actually going to buy from them require their services so when you say that you have a very young population that is going to demand entertainment offering that is very attractive to investors. The second thing that is very attractive to investors is when you have basically a blank playing field so you’re starting a new sector from scratch. Today the demand is very high but also the supply is very limited, so investors that come in and capitalise on this first mover advantage are the ones that are going to benefit from this exciting new sector.”
Though Saudi Arabia is among the leading G20 countries in international tourism, two-thirds of total leisure trips are made within the Middle East region.
By providing an array of options for top-class-fun, within the cultural context of Middle Eastern family entertainment, Qiddiya aims to pioneer a new era of entertainment and professional opportunities for Saudi Arabians.
(Source: Arabianbusiness.com YouTube channel)