Cinemas to re-open in Saudi Arabia as of 2018, Ministry of Information confirms

Saudi Arabia has announced that cinemas will be allowed in the country. (Shutterstock)
Updated 11 December 2017
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Cinemas to re-open in Saudi Arabia as of 2018, Ministry of Information confirms

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture and Information has announced that commercial cinemas will be allowed to operate in the Kingdom as of early 2018.
The announcement marks the first time in 35 years that cinema theaters will be allowed to operate in the country.
Meanwhile, the Board of the General Commission for Audiovisual Media (GCAM), which is chaired by the Minister of Culture and Information Awwad Alawwad, passed a resolution on Monday allowing the authority to grant licenses to cinemas.
In a released statement, Alawwad said: “As the industry regulator, the General Commission for Audiovisual Media has started the process for licensing cinemas in the Kingdom. We expect the first cinemas to open in March 2018.”
The announcement comes as part of the Vision 2030 social and economic reform program in the Kingdom and follows the announcement that women in the Kingdom will be allowed to drive come June 2018.
The move marks the first time that cinemas have been licensed in the country since the early 1980s.
“This marks a watershed moment in the development of the cultural economy in the Kingdom,” Alawwad added in the statement.
“Opening cinemas will act as a catalyst for economic growth and diversification; by developing the broader cultural sector we will create new employment and training opportunities, as well as enriching the Kingdom’s entertainment options.”
According to authorities, Vision 2030 aims to increase Saudi household spending on cultural and entertainment activities from 2.9 percent currently to six percent by 2030.
The announcement opens up a domestic market of more than 32 million people and it is forecast that, by 2030, Saudi Arabia will be home to more than 300 cinemas, according to the Board of the General Commission for Audiovisual Media.


Peace and safety will prevail in Syria, says KSRelief chief

Updated 1 min 19 sec ago
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Peace and safety will prevail in Syria, says KSRelief chief

  • Abdullah Al-Rabeeah discussed the situation in the camp, as well as current and future humanitarian projects there
  • Saudi Arabia, represented by KSRelief, is keen to alleviate the suffering of Syrian refugees in Jordan

JEDDAH: The supervisor general of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) visited Jordan’s Zaatari camp for Syrian refugees to check on the progress of KSRelief’s projects there.
Abdullah Al-Rabeeah discussed the situation in the camp, as well as current and future humanitarian projects there, with officials at the camp and representatives of organizations working there.
The camp is located in northeast Jordan, about 70 km from the capital Amman, and hosts 70,000 Syrian refugees, accounting for 22 percent of their total number in the country.
Saudi Arabia, represented by KSRelief, is keen to alleviate the suffering of Syrian refugees in Jordan, and to ease the burden on the country’s government, said Al-Rabeeah.
“In the next few days of this visit, we will see the signing of deals for more programs and projects with our partners in international humanitarian organizations,” he added.
Al-Rabeeah expressed hope that peace and safety will prevail in Syria so refugees can return to their country.
At Zaatari, he and his delegation visited the distribution center of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the catering center of the World Food Program (WFP).
Al-Rabeeah contributed to distributing 2,000 bags to Syrian students at the primary school of the Saudi complex in the camp.
The distribution is part of a project in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon to provide 450,000 school bags that include all students’ needs at the start of every school year. The total value of the project is $4.437 million.
Al-Rabeeah met with distinguished students and children with special needs to encourage them and give them moral support. He also toured KSRelief’s 15 specialized clinics in Zaatari.
He attended the cultural training program provided by the MiSK Foundation in the camp, and inaugurated the Advanced Saudi Center for Community Education and Training, which includes computer programing, basic sciences, health, tailoring, weaving and handicrafts.
Al-Rabeeah visited Syrian families in Zaatari and listened to their stories. He also visited the handicrafts exhibition in the camp, which includes paintings and sculptures that reflect refugees’ emotions and creativity.
He visited the exhibition of the Saudi Training Center for Handicrafts and Recycling, patronized a ceremony to honor outstanding students, and gave them awards.
Meanwhile, Al-Rabeeah has signed a joint program for treating cancer patients from Yemeni and Syrian refugees at Jordan’s King Hussien Cancer Center.
He visited the headquarters of the King Hussien Cancer Center in Amman on Tuesday, where he met several of the foundation’s leaders.
Al-Rabeeah met her royal highness Princess Ghida Talal, the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the King Hussein Cancer Foundation.
His excellency discussed with Talal ways of boosting cooperation, and signed the joint agreement which aims to provide diagnostic and therapeutic services to cancer patients.