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

Saudi Arabia's King Salman lays the foundation stone at the Qiddiya entertainment park near Riyadh on April 28, 2018. (SPA)
Updated 29 April 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s Qiddiya, built for fun, also means business

  • Qiddiya is one of three Saudi giga-projects, on top of Neom and the Red Sea project, launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
  • 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

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.


Muslim World League chief honored for strengthening ties between Islamic world, Russia

Updated 24 July 2019
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Muslim World League chief honored for strengthening ties between Islamic world, Russia

 

MOSCOW: The Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences has awarded the secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), Dr. Mohammad bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, an honorary doctorate in recognition of his efforts to strengthen the relationship between the Islamic world and Russia.

Prof. Vitaly Naumkin, the director of the institute, who represents one of the most well-known academic institutions in the world over the past 200 years, talked about Al-Issa’s career, noting that he has contributed to the promotion of cultural rapprochement among nations through his visits to countries and his connections with different cultures and religions.

Naumkin said that the principles of moderation adopted by the MWL and its secretary-general contributed to the establishment of security in the world, noting that these principles addressed extremism and violence.

The honorary doctorate was given to Al-Issa for his services in the development of Islamic jurisprudence and improving official and popular relations between Russia and the Islamic world, he said.

The MWL secretary-general said that he was proud to receive the honorary doctorate from an institute that is well-known for its dedication and neutrality.

He also praised the Russian Federation’s care for Arab and Islamic culture and its keenness to communicate with the Muslim world, learn its language and understand its culture.

Al-Issa considered the award to be motivation to work on promoting cultural communication and exchange between the Islamic world and Russia.

He said that the institute has contributed to changing the stereotype of Orientalism in the Muslim world and has encouraged cultural communication between nations and peoples.

The ceremony was attended by representatives of the Russian presidency, the Duma and the Senate, as well as high-ranking diplomats, senior academics of Orientalism, religious leaders and a group of researchers and students.