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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Investigation into alleged mistakes in Yemen find coalition forces acted properly

Updated 17 January 2019
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Investigation into alleged mistakes in Yemen find coalition forces acted properly

JEDDAH: The Joint Incident Assessment Team in Yemen (JIAT) has investigated four allegations made by international governmental and non-governmental organizations and media about mistakes made by coalition forces while carrying out military operations inside Yemen.
JIAT spokesman Mansour Al-Mansour said that the team concluded that the procedures followed by the coalition forces were proper and safe, taking into consideration the rules of engagement, international humanitarian law and the coalition’s own rules.
Team members visited a number of cities in Yemen, including Aden, Lahj and Khor Maksar, during the investigation and spoke to witnesses, victims and their families to gather evidence and establish the facts.
In one of the incidents that was investigated, coalition warship fired on and destroyed a craft in the waters off the Yemeni port of Al-Khokha in September. Al-Mansour said that after examining documents and evidence JIAT had concluded that an alliance ship was escorting and protecting a flotilla of three Saudi merchant ships when, in an area off the port of Al-Khokha, a boat was spotted approaching the convoy at a high speed from the direction of the Yemeni coast.
The escort ship followed the accepted rules of engagement by repeatedly warning the unidentified vessel, using loudspeakers, not to come any closer. When these went unheeded, warning shots were fired but the boat continued to approach.
“On reaching an area that represented a threat to the convoy, the protection ship tackled the boat according to the rules of engagement and targeted it, resulting in an explosion on the boat,” said Al-Mansour. “The protection ship continued escorting the convoy. After the escort task was completed, the protection ship returned to the site of the targeted boat to carry out a search-and-rescue operation for the crew of the target boat but no one was found.”