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Sun 28 Jul 2019 09:42 AM

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Video: First look at Saudi Arabia's entertainment capital

Saudi Arabia has unveiled a new milestone in its transformation, with a first look at Qiddiya- its new capital of entertainment, sports and the arts. The master plan for the giga-project was unveiled on July 24th in Riyadh.

CEO Michael Reininger introduced the plan, which is set to be the largest integrated entertainment city in the world. The first phase is due to open in early 2023.

Located 45 kilometres outside Riyadh, the 334 square kilometre site is the size of Las Vegas.

HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, Chairman, General Sports Authority

“There’ll be racetracks there’ll be stadiums, there’ll be multi-purpose halls there’ll be roads that we can cycle on there’ll be roads that we can run on there’ll be parks that we can enjoy running around with kids and the family. So as a city I think it will be a standalone unique project that nowhere in the world you can find.”

Saudi Arabia has a young affluent population- with 67% under the age of 35 and 69% classed as mid or high earning. Until now, these people have had to travel outside the Kingdom to access family entertainment.

Vision 2030, the strategic framework for the transformation of Saudi Arabia, aims to diversify the economy in the country. Qiddiya is part of the Saudi government’s plans to open new economic sectors, boosting GDP.

Amr Banaja, Chief Executive Officer, General Entertainment Authority

“For many years entertainment was very limited in Saudi Arabia. People used to travel- people used to spend money outside Saudi Arabia for entertainment. We want to bring this back into Saudi Arabia- …. We will also open up to the outside world so that tourism can come to Saudi Arabia- …We would create GDP contribution, we would also create jobs for the locals so it is an extremely important sector- it is one of the key drivers that has basically from the top has really looked upon this as a driving force to contribute to the vision 2030.”

Qiddiya will create 17,000 new jobs in its first phase, resulting in a 2% decline in Riyadh’s unemployment rate. Its training and development programs will offer never-seen-before opportunities to young Saudi professionals.

For investors, Qiddiya presents itself as a first mover opportunity- the market maker, as Saudi Arabia opens up to an entirely new sector.

Michael Reininger, Chief Executive Officer, Qiddiya Investment Company

“What we represent as an investment opportunity is really a first mover opportunity. Finding new markets or making new markets is really hard thing to do but what we have with Qiddiya is an existing marketplace, huge in its scale, with a proven customer base that has been desiring the kinds of things that we’re going be providing for a long long time. …. And so for investors that means tapping in to this new market right here in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

With 30 million people representing pent up demand for family entertainment, Saudi Arabia’s new sector will cause significant change. Qiddiya is part of a huge new departure, in the opening up of Saudi society not seen before in the Kingdom.

(Source: YouTube channel)