Saudi Arabia seeks to expand entertainment landscape

Gustaf Skarsgard of television drama, ‘Vikings,’ at the closing ceremony of the Saudi Comic Con 2018 in Jeddah. (AN photo)
Updated 28 March 2018
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Saudi Arabia seeks to expand entertainment landscape

NEW YORK: Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority (GEA) is to host a summit at a Beverly Hills hotel in Los Angeles to attract events to the Kingdom.
The summit will explore the role of entertainment in enhancing the quality of life and providing investment and employment opportunities in Saudi Arabia.
It will be opened with an address from GEA Chairman Ahmed Al-Khatib.
GEA CEO Faisal Bafarat said: “The summit is designed to educate and advance creative industry opportunities. We’re committed to expanding the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s entertainment landscape, supported with private/public partnerships while attracting local and international investors to help foster exciting new partnerships to benefit our growing millennial population.”
More than two-thirds of the country’s 32 million population are under the age of 30.
In his interview last week on 60 Minutes, the CBS television network’s flagship current-affairs program, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman detailed Vision 2030 plans to re-introduce all forms of entertainment to the Kingdom after decades of austerity imposed by extreme religious conservatism.
After the opening keynote address, the importance of entertainment to society and the economy will be discussed. Those taking part include government leaders from the delegation accompanying the crown prince on his seven-city official tour of the US, as well as business investors.
The summit will take place on April 4 at the Four Seasons Los Angeles, Beverly Hills.
The GEA was established by a royal decree in May 2016 to define a new entertainment sector in Saudi Arabia and oversee its growth, while also safeguarding customs and traditions.
Saudis currently spend $22 billion a year on tourism and entertainment — all of it outside the country.
Since the GEA was created, it has been announced that cinemas are to open after a ban lasting more than three decades and deals are being discussed to open amusement parks and stage hit shows such as Cirque du Soleil and The Lion King.
The crown prince’s visit to the US, which runs until April 7, has brought American companies to the table to discuss working with their Saudi counterparts.


Saudi defense partnerships signed at Paris Air Show

Updated 20 June 2019
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Saudi defense partnerships signed at Paris Air Show

PARIS: Saudi defense chiefs signed a number of strategic partnerships with major global companies while taking part in the prestigious Paris Air Show.
The pavilion of the Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) company received a succession of key aerospace-industry figures during the Kingdom’s first exhibition appearance at the world’s largest aviation event.
High-profile visitors welcomed by SAMI chief executive offer, Andreas Schwer, included chairman of the SAMI board of directors, Ahmad Al-Khatib, deputy chairman of the SAMI board of directors and chairman of the board of directors of the Local Content and Government Procurement Commission, Dr. Ghassan Al-Shibl, and president of the General Authority for Civil Aviation, Abdulhadi bin Ahmed Al-Mansouri.
The pavilion also received a senior delegation from the Saudi Presidency of State Security, along with the director general of Saudi Arabian Airlines, Saleh bin Nasser Al-Jasser.
During the second day of the air show, which runs until June 23 at Le Bourget airport in Paris, SAMI officials took part in meetings and signed strategic partnerships with global businesses involved in the four areas of the company’s work, namely air and ground systems, weapons, missiles and defense electronics.
At a signing ceremony in the SAMI pavilion, company chiefs also put pen to paper on a joint project agreement with US aerospace and defense company L3 Technologies for cooperation in the field of electro-optical and infra-red technology and special task systems inside Saudi Arabia. In February, the two sides signed a memorandum of understanding establishing the joint project.