Licensing opens for cinema in Saudi Arabia, says ministry

File Photo showing Saudis watch composer Yanni perform at Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Dec 3, 2017. (Reuters)
Updated 02 March 2018
0

Licensing opens for cinema in Saudi Arabia, says ministry

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia began issuing licenses Thursday to operate cinemas in the kingdom ahead of their reopening after a decades-long ban was lifted as part of a far-reaching liberalization drive.
The move is another step toward opening the Saudi market to regional and international theater chains, which have long eyed the kingdom as the Middle East’s last untapped mass market.
The culture and information ministry said it had “finalized the terms of licencing to restore cinema in Saudi Arabia.”
“Licencing commences immediately,” the ministry added in a statement.
The news comes as Dubai-based VOX Cinemas, the leading operator in the Middle East, launches its first public screening in Saudi Arabia, which runs through Saturday and aims to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease.
The screening in Riyadh will feature content from local producers including Myrkott Production and Telfaz Company, VOX said.
Major cinema chains are seeking to break into the market of more than 30 million people, the majority of whom are under 25.
In December, US giant AMC Entertainment signed a non-binding agreement with Saudi Arabia’s vast Public Investment Fund to build and operate cinemas across the kingdom.
AMC will still face stiff competition from regional heavyweights, including VOX.
The move to reopen cinemas is part of a modernization drive by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.


First Saudi female air traffic controllers begin work

Updated 17 min 36 sec ago
0

First Saudi female air traffic controllers begin work

  • Eleven women completed a one-year program conducted by Saudi Air Navigation Services

JEDDAH: Saudi Air Navigation Services (SANS) on Wednesday celebrated the appointment and start of work of the first batch of Saudi female air traffic controllers at an air traffic control center in Jeddah.
Eleven women completed a one-year program conducted by SANS in cooperation with the Saudi Academy of Civil Aviation. This is the first program to qualify women to work as air traffic controllers.
The academy initiative, in collaboration with SANS, seeks to create more jobs for women as part of a reform push to wean the economy off oil. Vision 2030 plan aims to increase employment and diversify revenue sources.
Earlier, SANS CEO Ryyan Tarabzoni said the state-owned company was prioritizing the hiring of women in the profession, as the country pushes to extend women’s rights in the country and also recruit more nationals as part of the “Saudization” project.