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

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.


Reem A. Alfrayan, executive director of G20 Saudi Secretariat

Reem A. Alfrayan
Updated 20 September 2020

Reem A. Alfrayan, executive director of G20 Saudi Secretariat

  • Alfrayan received a bachelor’s degree in technical education and training, workforce development and education at Ohio State University in 2001

Dr. Reem A. Alfrayan has been the executive director of G20 Saudi Secretariat since January 2019.
Commenting on women’s empowerment in the Kingdom, she recently said on a TV show: “We’ve passed the stage of dreaming; with the help of Vision 2030, they’ve become a reality, we need new dreams now.”
She was the first woman to be appointed as assistant secretary-general at the Council of Saudi Chambers in September 2014.
Alfrayan received a bachelor’s degree in technical education and training, workforce development and education at Ohio State University in 2001.
In 2002, she earned a master’s degree in instructional technologies and media policy, and leadership from the same university.
Alfrayan obtained another master’s degree in educational leadership and organization, policy and leadership at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2013.
She did a Ph.D. in educational leadership and organization from the same university in 2014.
After obtaining her first master’s degree, she joined the Arab Open University as instructional technology unit supervisor at its headquarters in Kuwait in 2003.
Between 2005 and 2006, Alfrayan served as a training specialist with a project launched by the General Authority for Tourism and Antiquities.
She then joined King Abdul Aziz Medical City as an administrative planning and processing development officer.
She also served as general manager of businesswomen’s affairs at the Council of Saudi Chambers from October 2007 to January 2010.
Alfrayan also actively participates in volunteer work.