Tourist e-visas are offered for the first time. Visitors from 49 countries can use the new visas. The Kingdom’s mandatory conservative dress code for visitors is also relaxed.
The Supreme Court abolishes flogging.
The Public Investment Fund (PIF) — Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, which Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman chairs — organizes the first Future Investment Initiative, gathering investors, innovators, government officials and economic leaders in Riyadh.
The Misk Foundation, a non-profit philanthropic group founded by the crown prince, holds the first Misk Global Forum in Riyadh, bringing young leaders together with global innovators.
The Ministry of Commerce and Investment announces that Saudi women do not need the permission of a male guardian to start their own business.
Saudi Arabia wins coveted emerging-market status with MSCI, the world’s largest index provider, positioning it to attract up to $40 billion worth of foreign inflow after a series of reforms.
King Salman inaugurates the Haramain high-speed railway, running 450 kilometers between Makkah, Madinah and Jeddah, in line with Vision 2030’s pledge to improve services for pilgrims.
The crown prince launches a project to build the Kingdom’s first nuclear research reactor, with plans announced for 16 nuclear facilities to be constructed over the next 25 years at a cost of $80 billion.
The Saudi Cabinet approves a Privileged Iqama residency permit — which allows foreign nationals to live and work in Saudi Arabia without a sponsor — for highly skilled expatriates and owners of capital funds.
Saudi Arabia relaxes the 49-percent limit for foreign strategic investors in shares of listed companies in Tadawul, the Kingdom’s stock exchange.
Saudi Aramco’s IPO begins listing on Tadawul, raising $25.6 billion, making it the world’s largest IPO.
APRIL 7, 2017
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announces the Qiddiya project, a multibillion-dollar entertainment, sport and cultural city just outside of Riyadh. King Salman inaugurates it at a groundbreaking ceremony on April 28, 2018.
AUG. 1, 2017
The crown prince announces a mega-tourism project for the Red Sea, to be built across a lagoon of 50 islands and projected to bring in $4 billion annually and create 35,000 jobs.
OCT. 24, 2017
The crown prince unveils plans for NEOM, a $500-billion megacity, to be located in the Tabuk region. Set to be the world’s first independent economic zone, it will operate solely on wind and solar power.
SEPT. 26, 2018
PIF announces the Amaala luxury resort, to be located on the northwestern coast of the Red Sea in the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Nature Reserve, with the aim of promoting cultural conservation, sustainability and ecological preservation.
FEB. 10, 2019
The crown prince launches a mega-tourism project in AlUla, home to the ancient site of Hegra, which will include the Sharaan Nature Reserve and a resort designed by French architect Jean Nouvel.
ARTS, CULTURE AND ENTERTAINMENT
APRIL 18, 2018
The first commercial movie theater opens in Riyadh with a screening of “Black Panther” after a 35-year ban on cinemas is lifted.
MAY 10, 2018
Saudi Arabia participates in the Cannes Film Festival for the first time, with the Saudi Film Council hosting a pavilion in the International Village.
MAY 26, 2018
Saudi Arabia is represented at the Venice Architecture Biennale for the first time, with a pavilion organized by the Misk Art Institute that showcases the works of Saudi architects Abdulrahman and Turki Gazzaz.
DEC. 13-15, 2018
Enrique Iglesias, Amr Diab and the Black Eyed Peas are among the first international performers at the Formula E in Riyadh, for which the first trial tourist visas are granted.
DEC. 21, 2018
The first Winter at Tantora Festival launches, bringing international performers and visitors from around the world to AlUla.
FEB. 27, 2019
Saudi Seasons, a series of festivals staged throughout the Kingdom, begins in the Eastern Province and includes the area’s first international music performances, with Pitbull and Akon taking the stage.
MARCH 27, 2019
The Culture Ministry, headed by Prince Badr bin Farhan Al-Saud, is established, along with the announcement of 11 cultural bodies
MAY 11, 2019
Saudi Arabia returns to the Venice Biennale after an eight-year absence, with a pavilion fronted by Jeddah-based land artist and professor, Dr. Zahrah Al-Ghamdi.
JAN. 31-MARCH 7, 2020
The first edition of Desert X AlUla sees 14 large-scale sculptures by artists from Saudi Arabia, the Middle East and the US transform the landscape.
JULY 9, 2017
A decree approves physical education programs at girls’ schools for the coming academic year, in line with one of the goals of Vision 2030 — to have more people participating in sports.
JAN. 12, 2018
Female fans are allowed to attend football matches in Saudi Arabia for the first time at the Al-Ahli vs. Al-Batin game in Jeddah.
APRIL 27, 2018
The WWE’s Royal Rumble takes place in Jeddah’s King Abdullah Sports City, beginning a 10-year partnership between the WWE and the General Sports Authority.
AUG. 11, 2018
The first Crown Prince Camel Festival, the world’s largest, kicks off in Taif.
DEC. 14, 2018
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Kingdom’s first ever Formula E-Prix race in Ad Diriyah.
JAN. 16, 2019
The Italian Super Cup match between Serie A sides Juventus and AC Milan takes place in Jeddah.
JUNE 8, 2019
The largest Battle Royale in WWE history is held in Jeddah’s Al-Jowhara Stadium in King Abdullah Sports City.
DEC. 7, 2019
Clash on the Dunes, the first heavyweight boxing title match to be staged in the Middle East, with Anthony Joshua fighting Andy Ruiz Jr., takes place in Riyadh’s Diriyah Stadium.
JAN. 5-17, 2020
Saudi Arabia hosts the Dakar Rally, the first time the legendary desert race has taken place in the Middle East.
MARCH 6, 2018
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman begins a landmark visit to the UK, meeting Queen Elizabeth II, Prime Minister Theresa May and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
MARCH 18, 2018
A multi-city tour of the US sees the crown prince meet with US President Donald Trump, as well as a number of business leaders including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Google co-founder Sergey Brin.
APRIL 9, 2018
During the crown prince’s visit to France, the two countries sign an agreement to collaborate on developing Saudi Arabia’s AlUla into a key tourist attraction.
NOV. 30, 2018
The crown prince represents Saudi Arabia at the G20 Buenos Aires summit.
FEB. 17, 2019
A multi-city tour of Asia begins, with the crown prince visiting Pakistan, India and China. As part of a number of deals signed by the crown prince in Beijing, Saudi Aramco will form Huajin Aramco Petrochemical in partnership with China North Industries Group Corp to build a $10 billion refining and petrochemical complex.
JUNE 26, 2019
The crown prince arrives in the South Korean capital Seoul to strengthen ties between the two countries and to oversee a raft of agreements on energy, cars, tourism and health.
JUNE 27, 2019
The crown prince arrives in Osaka ahead of the G20 Summit, leading the delegation for Saudi Arabia before it assumes the presidency for the 2020 G20 Riyadh Summit.