King Abdullah Economic City to exploit entertainment boom in Saudi Arabia: Chief Fahd Al-Rasheed

King Abdullah Economic City to exploit entertainment boom in Saudi Arabia: Chief Fahd Al-Rasheed. (Ali Khamg)
Updated 12 April 2018

King Abdullah Economic City to exploit entertainment boom in Saudi Arabia: Chief Fahd Al-Rasheed

  • Social and cultural aspects of the changes underway in Saudi Arabia were as significant as the economic transformation: Al-Rasheed
  • Music and other entertainment events had been behind the recent boom in visitors to KAEC

The King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), the multibillion-dollar development on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast, intends to exploit the opportunities presented by the Kingdom’s booming entertainment sector, the city’s chief executive said on Wednesday.

Speaking at the opening session of the Top CEO 2018 forum, Fahd Al-Rasheed said the social and cultural aspects of the changes underway in Saudi Arabia were as significant as the economic transformation, and that the KAEC could expect big commercial and financial benefits from the shift toward leisure and entertainment.

“All round the world, entertainment creates big economic benefits. KAEC wants to take part in that,” he said, speaking at the Bay La Sun Hotel resort-based event, adding that 10 million square meters of the KAEC area had recently been designated as land for entertainment development.

“We have one of the top maritime ports in the world, we have big oil and gas facilities, but you have to give people what they want,” he said.

Al-Rasheed, who has been the CEO of KAEC since it was launched in 2005, said that music and other entertainment events had been behind the recent boom in visitors to the 67 square mile development an hour’s drive outside Jeddah.

In 2015, there were just 10,000 visitors, but in 2017 the figure leaped to 370,000 for ticketed events, lured by new hotel and marina facilities as well as music concerts.

KAEC is planned as an industrial, commercial and residential development beside a new port on the Red Sea, but leisure and cultural aspects have been increasingly emphasized as part of the Kingdom’s commitment to social development under the Vision 2030 plan.

Al-Rasheed said entertainment was a significant factor in the economies of countries such as Britain, South Korea and China, but especially in the US, where 44.5 percent of total employment is related to the entertainment business, which generated $700 billion of value to America’s gross domestic product.

He also pointed out that many companies in entertainment were small-to-medium enterprises, which are a focus of the Saudi economic transformation, which aims to encourage entrepreneurship.

Al-Rasheed said big developments such as Neom, the $500-billion giga-project at the northern end of the Red Sea, were needed to accommodate the booming Saudi population.


Saudi minister calls on worshippers to respect safety measures in mosques

Updated 28 May 2020

Saudi minister calls on worshippers to respect safety measures in mosques

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's minister of Islamic affairs called on Muslims to respect ongoing preventative measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) inside mosques as the Kingdom eases some restrictions.

Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh said worshipers should bring their own prayer mats, wear masks and wash their hands prior to coming to the mosque to ensure the safety of other worshippers. 

Al-Asheikh said preventative measures will remain in place to ensure a safe return of worshipers to mosques for Friday prayers from May 31 until June 20, except in Makkah. 

Worshippers must keep two meters apart and leave a row of space empty between each row, he said.

The minister said the elderly and children under 15 should continue to avoid going to the mosque. 

The instructions follow other announcements in the Kingdom relaxing aspects of the lockdown, including reducing curfews and allowing freer movement of people.