Construction at Saudi entertainment megaproject Qiddiya to begin this year

The project aims to improve the quality of local life not only through entertainment, but also by providing around 57,000 jobs for citizens. (SPA file photo)
Updated 13 January 2019
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Construction at Saudi entertainment megaproject Qiddiya to begin this year

  • The megaproject is expected to be the world’s largest entertainment city

RIYADH: Construction on an up-and-coming recreational megaproject in Riyadh will begin this year, according to Mike Reininger, CEO of the Qiddiya project.
“2019 will see Qiddiya move from the planning and design phase to the construction phase,” Reininger told Arab News.
Qiddiya, one of the three megaprojects, besides the Neom smart-city and the Red Sea Project launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, will be located about 40 kilometers from the city center.
A company tweet read: “We are a step closer to building Saudi Arabia’s first entertainment and sports city.”
Upon completion, the prominent landmark is expected to be the world’s largest entertainment city.
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. Investors hope the project will attract high numbers of international visitors. “We will disclose more information on the construction timeline in due course,” said Reininger. 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. These projects will have a huge positive impact on the country’s economy and quality of life. The youth demographic will be the 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. 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 percent of household income to 6 percent.
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 2 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 percent of the population to 40 percent.
The first phase of the project will officially open in 2022, with its final phase ending in 2035.

 

 

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Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki at a press briefing. (SPA file photo)
Updated 19 March 2019
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Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

  • Houthis want to disturb peace, says coalition spokesman
  • Stockholm peace agreement under strain

RIYADH: The Arab coalition supporting the internationally recognized Yemeni government is committed to protecting regional and global security, a spokesman said Monday.

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki was asked at a press briefing about Houthi militias threatening to target the capitals of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

“This is their way to disturb peace,” Al-Maliki replied. “Previously the Houthis targeted Riyadh with a ballistic missile, violating all international laws by attacking a city that has more than 8 million civilians. We take all precautions to protect civilians and vital areas. The coalition works to protect regional and international security.”

Al-Maliki said Houthis had targeted Saudi border towns several times, the most recent incident taking place in Abha last Friday.

But the Saudi Royal Air Defense Force had shot down a drone that was targeting civilians, he added.

He said four Saudi nationals and an Indian expatriate were injured in the attack because of falling debris.

The drone wreckage showed the characteristics and specifications of Iranian manufacturing, he said, which proved Iran was continuing to smuggle arms to the militias.

He warned the Houthis to refrain from targeting civilians because the coalition, in line with international humanitarian law, had every right to counter such threats.

He said the coalition was making efforts to neutralize ballistic missiles and dismantle their capabilities, as the coalition’s joint command would not allow the militia to possess weapons that threatened civilian lives and peace.

Al-Maliki reiterated that the Houthis were targeting Yemeni civilians and continued to violate international laws. 

He also urged Yemenis to try their best to prevent children from being captured by Houthis, who were using them as human shields and child soldiers.

His comments came as the UN tried to salvage a peace deal that was seen as crucial for ending the country’s four-year war.

The Stockholm Agreement was signed by the Yemeni government and Houthi representatives last December.

The main points of the agreement were a prisoner exchange, steps toward a cease-fire in the city of Taiz, and a cease-fire agreement in the city of Hodeidah and its port, as well as ports in Salif and Ras Issa.

Militants triggered the conflict when they seized the capital Sanaa in 2014 and attempted to occupy large parts of the country. An Arab coalition intervened in support of the internationally recognized government in March 2015.

The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since 2015.

Earlier this month US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that President Donald Trump’s administration opposed curbs on American assistance to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

“The way to alleviate the Yemeni people’s suffering isn’t to prolong the conflict by handicapping our partners in the fight, but by giving the Saudi-led coalition the support needed to defeat the Iranian-backed rebels and ensure a just peace,” Pompeo said at a news conference in Washington.