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

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.


Worshippers flock to reopened Prophet’s Mosque for Friday prayers

Updated 06 June 2020

Worshippers flock to reopened Prophet’s Mosque for Friday prayers

MADINAH: Hundreds of thousands of worshippers attended the first Friday prayers to be held at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah since the gatherings were suspended to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

The green light for the resumption of the prayer meetings came as part of a plan to gradually reopen the Kingdom’s mosques while ensuring worshippers and visitors adhered to preventive measures.

A ban on access to the Rawdah remained in place and only groups of worshippers numbering up to a maximum of 40 percent of the mosque’s capacity were being allowed entry.

Precautionary measures also included the allocation of specific doors for the entry of worshippers, the installation of thermal cameras, removal of all carpets so that prayers could be performed on the marble, sanitization of the mosque’s floors and courtyards, periodic opening of domes and canopies to ventilate the mosque, and the removal of Zamzam water containers.

The Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah will be closed after evening prayers and reopened one hour before dawn prayers. Parking lots will operate at 50 percent capacity and a media awareness campaign has been launched to highlight safety procedures at the holy site.

Medical teams have also been stationed at the main entrances to the mosque in cooperation with the Ministry of Health.

Elsewhere in the Kingdom, worshippers also flocked to perform Friday prayers at mosques amid strict health measures.

On May 31, Saudi authorities reopened all mosques for prayers, except in Makkah, as part of the Kingdom’s plan for a gradual return to normal life.

Last week the minister of Islamic affairs, dawah and guidance said that the country’s mosques were ready to welcome back worshippers, following his field trips to check that necessary preparations had been made.

All worshippers must still maintain a distance of 2 meters between rows, wear masks to enter a mosque, and Friday sermons and prayers have been limited to a maximum of 15 minutes.