Developers reveal more details about Qiddiya, the Saudi entertainment supercity

Time: July 25, 2019  

One of the aims of the Qiddiya project is to create a hub to generate job opportunities ​​through the provision of entertainment, sports and arts facilities. (AN photo by Khaled Al-Khamees)
  • More than 45 individual projects are expected to be complete

RIYADH: The company behind Qiddiya, the entertainment city being built on the outskirts of Riyadh, has revealed more details of the venues and facilities that are due to open when phase one of the project is completed in four years’ time.

In all, more than 45 individual projects are expected to be complete and 300 activities available in the creative, hospitality, leisure and sports sectors when the first phase opens to the public in 2023. They include a theme park, a water park, a motorsports center, and sports and performing-arts venues.

In an interview, Qiddiya Investment Company CEO Mike Reininger on Wednesday talked to Arab News about what makes the project so special and why it will attract visitors from around the world.

“There are so many things that are special in Qiddiya,” he said. “Firstly, the unbelievable site: The beautiful piece of national park-quality land on the edge of Riyadh. It is the starting point for a series of special experiences, whether they are in entertainment, sports or the arts, as we bring this together with an authenticity and a connection to the local community and culture.

“The idea behind Qiddiya is simple, yet powerful: To create a place that unlocks the opportunities and virtues that entertainment, sports and the arts can contribute to a healthy, happy and engaging lifestyle. It’s an idea that resonates with the Kingdom’s young and smart and progressive population, who share the universal desire for these opportunities and experiences. That is the idea, which fully aligns with the Kingdom’s vision 2030.”

More than 20 architectural companies have been contracted to work on the project, a team of more than 500 professionals from 30 countries assembled in conjunction with Danish architecture and building company Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), which is constructing tower blocks and arts, cultural and sports facilities.

During a press conference on Wednesday at the site of the project, Reininger and Andreas Pedersen from BIG discussed the aims of the Qiddiya project and the first features that will be implemented.

One of the main aims, they said, was to create a hub to generate job opportunities ​​through the provision of entertainment, sports and arts facilities. According to Reininger, Qiddiya aims to create at least 17,000 new employment opportunities.

“Today we are 200 and we have to have 17,000 people in order to make Qiddiya come to life,” he said. “There are 17,000 brand new job opportunities in areas and industries that Saudis haven’t had access to before.

We recently opened a large-scale training development program that’s focused on building a Saudi-oriented workforce to take all of those jobs and give this place a Saudi face.”

To help achieve this, Qiddiya is partnering with the University of Central Florida, which has the largest hospitality and sports-management education system in the world by numbers, Reininger said.

“We put this program together where we have 60 scholarships for Saudi students to send them to university to obtain the specific education that they need, so that when they come back we will give them jobs and they will have the information and the knowledge they need to be able to enter these new fields that are opening up in the Kingdom,” he added.

About 3,000 students applied for 60 scholarships within 48 hours of the announcement of the program two weeks ago, Reininger revealed.

“That instant response is a good indicator that jobs in these industries are appealing to Saudis, just as these experiences are interesting,” he said. “That’s why we say it has this duality: On the one hand, we are creating these experiences that are fun for people to enjoy in their lives, but at the same time in order to create these experiences we have to create these jobs and we have to stimulate the economy that provides the industrial support that makes this stuff happen.”

The grand opening of the first phase of Qiddiya is scheduled for 2023, when most of the initial projects are expected to be complete. These include: A Six Flags theme park; a water park; a motorsports-themed “Speed Park,” including racetracks; a number of residential areas; the city center; a performing arts center; and most of the sports venues and retail centers.

“We are not going to incrementally open one thing and then wait and open another,” said Reininger. “The expectations that have been built up around this project are so large and we don’t want to disappoint anybody by delivering something in the first phase that is not big enough to match the image they have about how it will be.

“We are working really hard to accomplish everything so that when we cut the ribbon on that grand opening day in 2023, most of what you see here will be available.”

In addition, several hotels will be ready to welcome visitors on opening day.

“In the first phase we will have about five hotels of various kinds, sizes and price points across the spectrum,” added Reininger.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi Arabia’s mega entertainment project Qiddiya reveals master plan

Time: June 26, 2019  

The 334-square-kilometer site envisions development covering only 30 percent of the land, leaving the majority of the site dedicated to conservation. (Supplied photo)
  • Will ‘unlock access to experiences in new, culturally relevant way’

RIYADH: The Qiddiya Investment Co. (QIC) has unveiled the much-anticipated master plan for Qiddiya, the entertainment city being constructed on the doorstep of Riyadh.

The announcement on Wednesday comes after an extensive design process, and revealed a meticulous plan that complements the epic natural landscape of the region, and creates a vast pedestrian-oriented district.

“The people of Saudi Arabia share the universal desire for enriching experiences, and our plan allows Qiddiya to unlock access to these experiences in a new and culturally relevant way, encouraging personal and professional pursuits that foster enrichment,” said Michael Reininger, CEO of QIC.

The master plan for the project, created in conjunction with Bjarke Ingles Group, a Denmark-based company, was constructed with careful consideration to the natural patterns that have been etched on the site throughout history, giving rise to a green belt network carrying visitors throughout the property on roads, bike paths and walkways built within an enhanced landscape environment.

“This project sets a new global standard for the seamless integration of visitor-focused experiences and an innovative mix of program pieces, delivering an unparalleled entertainment destination,” said Bob Ward, chairman of the Qiddiya advisory board.

The site is organized around five primary development nodes, each with a unique purpose.

Resort Core

The “Resort Core” represents the heart of Qiddiya, where four gated-attractions surround a central specialty retail, dining and entertainment district along with a portfolio of distinctive resort hotels.

Adjacent to this district is a major outdoor entertainment venue, capable of hosting events of 5,000 to 40,000 visitors in a park-like setting, and punctuated with active skating and skiing facilities.

The 2022 opening phase features “Six Flags Qiddiya,” a family-oriented park filled with rides and attractions distributed throughout six themed areas.

A second feature park is a water-oriented sports and entertainment attraction, which includes an integrated resort hotel.

Speed Park

The third feature is the “Speed Park” which brings together events and experiences from the world of motor sports in a venue that places equal emphasis on spectator and driver. The park includes tracks, showrooms, retail areas, a driver’s club and a luxury hotel within its gates.

City Center

The City Center is a mixed-use village dedicated to sports and the arts. It is home to a collection of venues including a 20,000-seat cliff-top stadium, an 18,000-seat multi-purpose indoor arena, an aquatic center and a sports hub capable of hosting a cross section of individual activities and events.

Art and entertainment creates a buzz throughout the city at the innovative arts center, a signature 2,000-seat performing arts theater and a premier multiplex cinema that dot the central walkways as primary destinations.

A private school, a sports medicine hospital, and beautiful private villas along a path on the Cliff’s Edge area complete the composition.

Eco Core

To the northwest of the “Resort Core” sits the “Eco Core,” designed around a series of nature and wildlife encounters, an ecologically sensitive golf course, outdoor sporting adventures and several unique hospitality offerings that take advantage of the picturesque desert environment.

A residential neighborhood sits near the center, where panoramic vistas of the project are available from an array of residential and resort offerings that include a championship 18-hole golf course and club house facilities, a luxurious resort hotel, spa and equestrian facilities.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Kareem Shamma, Qiddiya Investment Co. executive

Time: May 22, 2019  

Kareem Shamma
  • Shamma has spent decades working in the Gulf Cooperation Council states
  • Shamma holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a master’s in concrete structures from Imperial College London

Kareem Shamma has recently been appointed as the chief development officer of the entertainment, sports and cultural destination of the Qiddiya Investment Co. (QIC).

Qiddiya, which is due to open by the end of 2022, is expected to be the world’s largest entertainment city by 2030. It is located around 40 km from the center of the capital.

Shamma has spent decades working in the Gulf Cooperation Council states, with periods in Bahrain and the UAE, as well as in the UK. He started his professional life in Saudi Arabia, where he spent several years as an engineer working on Riyadh’s ring road network, including the construction of a number of its bridges and underpasses.

Shamma was the CEO of Bawabat Al-Shamal Real Estate Co. WLL (BASREC) in Qatar for seven years, between 2012 and 2019. He was responsible for delivering one of the region’s largest entertainment, hospitality and retail projects at the time.

He was regional director of URS Scott Wilson in Bahrain for two years between 2009 and 2011. He also worked for other companies in Bahrain. Shamma holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a master’s in concrete structures from Imperial College London.

“I spent my early career in the Kingdom developing key infrastructure, as the capital city grew and the Kingdom developed. To come back a second time and work on this extraordinary project is a chance of a lifetime,” Shamma said of his new role.

Qiddiya’s chief administration officer, Abdul Aziz Al-Remaihi, said: “We welcome Kareem back to Riyadh. He has a wealth of experience that will help us to create the capital of entertainment, sports and the arts here in the Kingdom.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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11 Facts About Saudi Arabia’s New Entertainment City, Qiddiya

May 10, 2018 

The opportunities that Qiddiya will create are endless!

Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman al Saud announced on Saturday, April 28th, 2018 that the Kingdom’s first entertainment, sports and cultural destination will soon be built 40km outside Riyadh. The city is called Qiddiya and is expected to open in 2022.

We’ve heard some of the details for this entertainment city and it sounds absolutely amazing!

Just to help tame your curiosity for a while, and make you extra excited for the opening, here are 11 facts about our soon to be new favourite destination in Saudi Arabia:

1. It’s the first of its kind in the world

This is the first entertainment city in the world with this unique offering. Al Qiddiya is expected to become the most popular cultural, sports and entertainment destination in the Kingdom.

2. The project will stretch over 334km

The total entertainment city is going to stretch over 334km. 34 km2 of the total area will be developed while the rest will be allocated to the safari area and for future developments.

3. Qiddiya will have six main clusters

These clusters are:

  • Theme Parks
  • Sports Arena
  • Wheel & Wings
  • Water & Snow
  • Scenic & Animal Encounters
  • Event Culture & Education

4. The first phase will be finished by 2022 and the whole project by 2035

The proposed timeline for the project is as follows:

  • Phase One: 2016 – 2022 Building distinctanchors
  • Phase Two: 2023 – 2025 Development of the Clusters
  • Phase Three: 2026 – 2035 Growing Capacity

5. It will create over 57,000 jobs

Qiddiya will need people to run the city and assist visitors. There will be approximately 57,000 job opportunities for both men and women by 2030.

Al-Qiddiyah will host the US-based Six Flags theme park

6. Al-Qiddiyah will host the US-based Six Flags theme park

The Chief Executive of Qiddiya, Michael Reininger, said in a press release: “Our goal is to create an exciting one-of-a-kind destination that will draw visitors from throughout Saudi Arabia to experience record-breaking roller coasters, innovative rides and attractions, as well as the sporting and cultural facilities that Qiddiya will offer. By partnering with a global leader, we know that we are going to deliver something exceptional.” Saudi Arabia will partner with the Six Flags Entertainment Corporation to create a world-class entertainment destination for all Saudi residents.

7. It is really close!

Qiddiya is approximately 20 minutes away from downtown Riyahd and 1 hour from the King Khaled International Airport.

8. And it can accommodate A LOT of people

Over two million people are expected to be accommodated in the hotels in Qiddiya while 12 million people will benefit from the project’s commercial sector. These figures are expected to rise as time edges closer to 2030.

9. It is going to be breath-taking

Not only is Qiddiya situated in a beautiful scenic location with unique geographical and natural characteristics, but it will also have the finest architectural buildings and hotels.

Qiddiya in Saudi Arabia

Image Credit: @qiddiya via Twitter

10. The economy and Vision 2030 will benefit from it

It is expected that Qiddiya will contribute up to SR 17billion of GDP to the economy. A number which is also expected to rise over time.

11. There is something for everyone

The designers of Qiddiya ensured that they catered for everyone’s interests. Whether you are looking for a day out shopping, want to treat your inner foodie, or get an adrenaline rush – you can find it all here! No matter your age, there will be something for you to enjoy.

This article was first published in  Expat Woman

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Saudi Arabia’s Qiddiya, built for fun, also means business

Time: April 29, 2018

JEDDAH:  Developing the entertainment sector by creating high quality domestic and international investments within the Kingdom is one of the main goals of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030. Those projects will have a huge positive impact on the country’s economy and quality of life.

Qiddiya is one of three Saudi giga-projects, on top of Neom and the Red Sea project, launched by Crown Prince and Chairman of the Public Investment Fund, Mohammed bin Salman. The project targets local, regional and international tourists and will be Saudi Arabia’s pre-eminent entertainment, sports and cultural destination that embodies the Saudi identity. It is expected to be the world’s largest entertainment city by 2030, with a total area of 334 square kilometers, surpassing Walt Disney World in Florida, which is only 110 sq km.
Qiddiya is 40 kilometers away from the center of Riyadh city. It bears the name of the area, and it has spectacular views of mountains, valleys and desert views. The presence of this tourist destination near the largest Saudi city in terms of population will allow it to target eight million visitors from around Riyadh and about 45 million visitors from the Arabian Gulf region.
The youth demographic will be a main contributor to Qiddiya’s success since two-thirds  of  the  Saudi population is under the age of 35.
Therefore, the project aims to satisfy  the  recreational,  social and cultural  needs  of  the  country’s  current  and  future generations.

The project includes theme parks; entertainment centers; sports amenities capable of hosting international competitions; training academies;  desert  and  asphalt  tracks  for  motorsport enthusiasts;  water-  and  snow-based  recreation;  outdoor  and adventure  activities  alongside  nature  and  safari  experiences; and  an  array  of  historical,  cultural  and  educational activities  and  events. Qiddiya will help diversify national income sources as it is forecast to contribute to up to SR17billion of GDP by 2030.
This project  will  also  contribute  to  the real  estate development  of  the  area, offering 4,000 residential units by 2025 and 11,000 by 2030. It aims to attract residents who want to buy second homes at Qiddiya for weekends and vacations.
Saudis spend $30 billion on tourism abroad every year. By providing new entertainment options for citizens and residents of Saudi Arabia, this project aims to redirect some of the overseas tourism spending back into the Kingdom.
This project will offer people opportunities to explore and experience without the need to travel to other countries. This supports Vision 2030’s objective to increase spending within the Kingdom on culture and entertainment activities, from about 3 per cent of household income to 6 per cent.
By 2030, the number of annual visitors to Qiddiya is expected to reach 17 million in the entertainment sector, 12 million in the shopping sector and two million in the hospitality sector.
The project aims to improve the quality of local life not only through entertainment, but also by providing around 57,000 jobs for citizens and opening new opportunities for the private sector in various industries. It will also serve the Kingdom’s goal of elevating Riyadh to become one of the world’s top 100 cities to live in.
Qiddiya’s facilities will enable citizens and residents to engage in a wide variety of sports, falling within Vision 2030’s theme of having a healthy society and increasing the ratio of individuals exercising at least once a week from 13 per cent of the population to 40 per cent.
The vision also aims to help youth excel in sport, developing leaders in selected sports regionally and globally.
The first phase of the project will officially open in 2022, with its final phase ending in 2035.

 This article was first published Arab News

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Saudis welcome Qiddiya project, look forward to a ‘one-of-a-kind experience’

Time: April 29, 2018

JEDDAH: Saudis welcomed the launch of Qiddiya, the entertainment city and Saudis’ upcoming destination for all things fun, which will officially introduce its theme parks, motor sport facilities and safari by 2022 when its first phase is complete.
The project, 40 kilometers outside Riyadh on the Tuwaiq escarpment, will occupy 334 square kilometers, triple the size of Walt Disney World in Florida. Its aim is to boost the entertainment sector and economy in Saudi Arabia, as well as liven up the tourism industry, in support of Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s reform program, Vision 2030.
Economically, Qiddiya is one of many measures aimed at reducing the Kingdom’s reliance on oil and diversifying its economy in the cultural, entertainment and hospitality industries. Saudi economist Mohammed Suwayed believes the project will push the entertainment industry toward full growth. “Riyadh currently lacks a structured entertainment industry that caters to all segments of society.
“Qiddiya will act as an enabler to the entertainment industry and unlock huge potential and opportunities for customers and businesses.
The Public Investment Fund is also investing in building the infrastructure, and it will push the limitations placed on the industry and make it surge.”
Additionally, Qiddiya will also redirect what Saudis spend on tourism in foreign countries back into the Kingdom by creating entertainment experiences that they previously sought outside the country.
Considering that the majority of Saudis are under 30 years old, the project is a much-needed attraction, said Abdan Al-Abdan, a 27-year-old from Riyadh. The project will add a new entertaining aspect to Saudi social life, he said, especially because it is not only an amusement park but a fully-fledged entertainment city that includes sports facilities, acting as an incentive for youth to be more active.
“The project will greatly improve the quality of economical and social life,” he said. “In the short-term, Qiddiya will provide a good number of job opportunities for many Saudi citizens both in the process of building the project and after opening the first phase in 2022. In the long-term, this project will help the Kingdom with one of the many elements of the Vision 2030, which is economic sufficiency, contributing to the goal of diversification of national income that will push forward the wheel of economic development.
“In addition, the Qiddiya project will bring in foreign investors in the entertainment sector as well as in infrastructure development and human resources development,” he added.

Nora Alrifai, a 26-year-old Saudi female from Jeddah, told Arab News: “I don’t mind that it’s all the way in Riyadh, as long as it’s inside Saudi Arabia. We already have plenty of entertainment activities in the Western Province and it’s only fair to have entertainment distributed among all regions of the Kingdom.
“I believe it will be a one-of-a-kind experience as this project is unprecedented here and we’ve never had something of this caliber. I just wish that entry tickets’ pricing will be reasonable to suit all levels of society,” she said.

This article was first published Arab News

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Disneyland in Saudi Arabia?

Time: April 29, 2018

If the definition of a magic kingdom is a place where anything can happen, then it certainly applies to the new Saudi Arabia — a country undergoing unprecedented change driven by an ambitious reform plan called Vision 2030.

This weekend alone there were four events in the Kingdom that only two years ago would have been impossible: First, a performance in Riyadh by the Arab Music Ensemble of the Egyptian Opera House; next, the opening in the capital of the latest Avengers movie at the same time as its worldwide premiere; then, on Friday, 60,000 Saudi wrestling fans — including, for the first time, women — enjoyed the electrifying Greatest Royal Rumble Special at the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in Jeddah.

Finally, a literally ground-breaking event; breaking ground on the Qiddiya cultural, sports and entertainment destination 40km outside the capital. This project is massive, not only in area — 334 sq km — but also in symbolism, with the inauguration receiving royal patronage.

All this shows several things; first and foremost that Saudis, like everyone else, love a bit of fun, from classical music to WWE piledrivers.

There can be no doubt that one of the first and most significant achievements of Vision 2030 has been to rescue Saudi society from extremists, and open it up to family entertainment.

The estimated $30 billion a year that Saudis spend on entertainment abroad can now stay in the Kingdom, jobs are being created — and, most importantly, families who could not afford to travel for their entertainment can now enjoy quality time with their loved ones … here at home!

The second lesson is that demand for quality entertainment is solid and sustainable.

Saudi Arabia is the only Arab member of the G20, with the biggest economy in the region and a population of 30 million, most of them under 30; not to mention the many millions of religious tourists, many of whom may wish to stay a little longer when their pilgrimage is over.

One of the first achievements of Vision 2030 has been to rescue Saudi society from extremists, and open it up to entertainment.

Faisal J. Abbas

Little wonder that shortly after the US cinema chain AMC obtained the first license to operate a movie theater in Saudi Arabia, the UAE’s Majid Al Futtaim Group announced plans to invest $500 million in building 600 Vox cinemas across the Kingdom.

What next? Well, in a few weeks women will be allowed to drive, in itself another phenomenal milestone for the Kingdom and its reform plan. With that obstacle out of the way, along with the removal of restrictions on women entering sports stadiums and public arenas, Saudi Arabia is opening up — and fast.

As more investment pours into the entertainment sector, and more international-class venues open their doors, the Kingdom will be perfectly placed to become a regional hub for family entertainment; a notion that, two short years ago, few people could even have imagined.

So will we see a Disneyland on Saudi soil? When he visited the US this month, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman did meet Disney chairman and chief executive Robert A. Iger.

In a talk at the Council on Foreign Relations, Iger confirmed that the possibility of opening a park in Saudi Arabia had been discussed. While he made it clear that no decision was made, he did promise to visit and assess the opportunity.

Even though Qiddiya will be a massive attraction, the arrival of Disney would send a powerful message about the triumph of shared family values, peace and love over the agenda of those who once wished to take our whole region in an altogether darker direction.

So I do hope that Iger does indeed deliver on his pledge, and visits us soon — to discover that there is no better place for his Magic Kingdom than our magic kingdom!

This article was first published Arab News

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Saudi Arabia’s King Salman inaugurates Qiddiya Project

Apr 28, 2018 

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz inaugurated the Qiddiya Project which is set to be the kingdom’s newest entertainment, sports and cultural destination.

The project will be built in al-Qiddiya area, some 40 km west of Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh. Qiddiya will be the largest and most important tourist destination in the region, making Riyadh a tourist hotspot.

The ceremony of laying the foundation stone was attended by a host of local and international officials and a number of decision-makers, major investors and representatives of the regional and international companies, marking the launch of the project’s formal infrastructure. The first phase will be completed by 2022.

Economic development

Speaking on the project, Michael Reininger, Chief Executive of Qiddiya, said that “we are delighted to be a key contributor to boost the kingdom’s economic development and investment, not only to the entertainment industry but also to projects that will develop the capabilities of the Saudi young people.”

In a statement to Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Dr. Fahd bin Abdullah Tounsi, Secretary General of the Foundation Council of Qiddiya Project under the Public Investment Fund (PIF) said that the inauguration of this vital project is a real translation of the aspirations of the wise leadership in the kingdom.

It also shows its relentless efforts to develop mega projects that would contribute effectively to achieve many direct and indirect economic returns, and to advance sustainable development for the benefit of the homeland and the citizen in accordance with the sectors identified by the Kingdom Vision 2030, he added.

“About two-thirds of the kingdom’s population is under the age of 35. There is a great need for Qiddiya Project to provide them with entertainment. The project will save about $ 30 billion which will be used to develop the domestic economy and create new job opportunities for the Saudi youths,” he added.

Project features

Some of the entertainment facilities at Qiddiya will include include training academies, desert and asphalt tracks for motor sports enthusiasts, water and snow activities, outdoor adventures, safaris and nature experiences.

Visitors can also expect historical, cultural and educational events. Other features will include commercial centers, restaurants, cafes, hotels, real estate project opportunities and services that meet the needs of all segments of society.

This article was first published in the Al Arabiya English

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Saudi Arabia’s King Salman will patronize the launch of Qiddiya Project

Time: April 24, 2018

RIYADH: Saudi King Salman will launch the construction of an “entertainment city” near Riyadh Saturday, authorities said, part of a series of multi-billion dollar projects as the Kingdom seeks to diversity its oil-reliant economy.
The 334-square kilometer project in Qiddiya, southwest of Riyadh, would rival Walt Disney and include high-end theme parks, motor sport facilities and a safari park, officials say.
The facility highlights a “relentless effort to develop giga-projects that will help achieve many direct and indirect economic returns,” project official Fahd bin Abdullah Tounsi was quoted as saying in a government statement on Monday.
Qiddiya chief executive Michael Reininger said he expects the project will draw foreign investors in entertainment and other sectors, but did not specify the total cost of construction.
Such projects are the brainchild of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a self-styled liberal change agent who is the chief architect of the sweeping “Vision 2030” reform program.
Saudi Arabia has dazzled investors with several plans for hi-tech “giga projects,” funded in part by its sovereign wealth fund, but some skeptics question their viability in an era of cheap oil.
The Kingdom has unveiled blueprints to build NEOM, a mega project billed as a regional Silicon Valley, in addition to the Red Sea project, a reef-fringed resort destination — both worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
Analysts say the projects could create funding pressures at a time when the government faces a yawning budget deficit and growth in the Kingdom’s non-oil economy is only slowly gathering pace.
The reform stems partly from an economic motive to boost domestic spending on entertainment as the Kingdom has been reeling from an oil slump since 2014.
Saudis currently splurge billions of dollars annually to see films and visit amusement parks in neighboring tourist hubs like Dubai and Bahrain.
In February, Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority (GEA) announced it will stage more than 5,000 festivals and concerts in 2018, double the number of last year, and pump $64 billion in the sector in the coming decade.

This article was first published Arab News

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Saudi King Salman to patronize Qiddiya Project on April 25

SOURCE: Al Arabiya

23 April 2018

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud will patronize on Wednesday the much-anticipated Qiddiya Project which is the new entertainment, sports and cultural destination being built in the kingdom.

The project will be built in al-Giddiya area, some 40 km west of Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh.

The ceremony of laying the foundation stone will be attended by a host of local and international officials and a number of decision-makers, major investors and representatives of the regional and international companies, marking the launch of the project’s formal infrastructure. The first phase will be completed by 2022.

In a statement to Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Dr. Fahd bin Abdullah Tounsi, Secretary General of the Foundation Council of Qiddiya Project under the Public Investment Fund (PIF) said that the inauguration of this vital project is a real translation of the aspirations of the wise leadership in the Kingdom and its relentless efforts to develop mega projects that would contribute effectively to achieve many direct and indirect economic returns, and to advance sustainable development for the benefit of the homeland and the citizen in accordance with the sectors identified by the Kingdom Vision 2030.

“About two-thirds of the Kingdom’s population is under the age of 35. There is a great need for Qiddiya Project to provide them with entertainment. The project will save about $ 30 billion which will be used to develop the domestic economy and create new job opportunities for the Saudi youths,” he added.

For his part, Michael Reininger, Chief Executive of Qiddiya, commented that “we are delighted to be a key contributor to boost the Kingdom’s economic development and investment, not only to the entertainment industry but also to projects that will develop the capabilities the Saudi young people”.

This article was first published by Al Arabiya English

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