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

Qiddiya is the first integrated cultural sports entertainment destination of its kind in Saudi Arabia and will include 6 integrated sectors covering more than 300 diverse activities. (Photo courtesy of Al-Eqtisadiah)
Updated 24 April 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s King Salman will patronize the launch of Qiddiya Project

  • Qiddiya Project is the new entertainment, sports and cultural destination in the Kingdom
  • The first phase will be completed by 2022

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.


KSA's King Salman Center for Disability Research holds its 9th general assembly meeting

Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar and SCTH President Prince Sultan bin Salman attend the 12th meeting of the KACDR in Riyadh. (SPA)
Updated 24 May 2018
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KSA's King Salman Center for Disability Research holds its 9th general assembly meeting

  • Prince Sultan bin Salman, chairman of the board of trustees, expressed his thanks and appreciation to King Salman for his support of the disability issue

On behalf of Prince Bandar bin Abdul Aziz, founder of the King Salman Center for Disability Research (KSCDR), Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar attended the General Assembly’s 9th meeting and the 12th meeting of the center’s founders.

Prince Sultan bin Salman, chairman of the board of trustees, expressed his thanks and appreciation to King Salman for his support of the disability issue.

He said that King Salman’s support boosted the state strategy of empowerment and integration of people with disabilities. The Kingdom’s efforts on the issue of disability made it an international pioneer, he said.

“The center is aware of the importance of the advanced scientific research as a parallel activity of the educational and rehabilitation services it provides,” he said. 

Prince Sultan praised the adoption of the national program for learning disabilities by the center in cooperation with the Education Ministry, noting that the program has helped qualify 20,000 teachers and benefit more than 500,000 male and female students, along with the hundreds of sessions the center has organized to help tens of thousands of citizens and residents.

Prince Sultan stressed the center’s effective partnerships with information, scientific, educational and medical institutions in Saudi Arabia, including the ministries of health, education, defense, interior, labor and social development, national guard, the King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology and universities.

“We have intensified our efforts to conduct scientific research, along with the center’s practical work and pioneering future researches with the world’s best partners, to serve people with disabilities.”