Strong sports industry key to boosting Saudi economy

The chairman of the General Sports Authority (GSA), Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, speaks at a special session on the second day of the Makkah Region Economic Forum on Monday. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 26 March 2019

Strong sports industry key to boosting Saudi economy

  • The forum is currently in its second year and is being held in Makkah, after Jeddah hosted the first edition last year
  • GSA chief stresses public-private collaboration

JEDDAH: The chairman of the General Sports Authority (GSA), Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, addressed a special session at the second day of the Makkah Region Economic Forum on Monday, to discuss investment opportunities to improve sport across the country.
The forum is currently in its second year and is being held in Makkah, after Jeddah hosted the first edition last year.
At the session, the prince stated that opening up new avenues for investment in the sector, in cooperation with private companies, to create a competitive and strong sporting culture in the Kingdom was essential to increase revenues in the wider entertainment industry, and that the GSA would focus efforts on securing more funding in accordance with the Vision 2030 program.
Meanwhile, the governor of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, Ibrahim bin Abdulrahman Al-Omar, said foreign investment would be key to the expansion of Makkah, but that local businesses would need to continue to make the region attractive.
He cited statistics suggesting 40 percent of foreign investors only did so with local partners in tow, and highlighted the competitive advantages of the region, as well as its heritage and infrastructure.
The governor of the Communications and Information Technology Commission, Dr. Abdulaziz bin Salem Al-Ruwais, highlighted the commission’s success in improving internet provision across Makkah region, offering greater telecom coverage in both the public and private spheres.
Dr. Abdullah Al-Shehri, the governor of the Electricity and Cogeneration Regulatory Authority, explained how his organization was substantially reducing costs in providing renewable energy. He said his authority was also working with the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy to make non-fossil fuel-based power even more accessible.
The minister of Hajj and Umrah, Dr. Mohammed Salih Bentin, meanwhile, presented the ministry’s latest set of initiatives for upcoming pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia, which, he claimed, would require coordination with up to 40 other government bodies.


Visitors gives thumbs up to ‘mesmerizing’ heritage event at Riyadh Season

Updated 42 min 9 sec ago

Visitors gives thumbs up to ‘mesmerizing’ heritage event at Riyadh Season

JEDDAH: Visitors to Riyadh Season have given a massive thumbs-up to a special event that highlights Saudi culture and heritage.

Nabd Al-Riyadh, or “Riyadh’s pulse,” showcases a different region of the Kingdom every day through folk dances, digital displays, laser shows, musical performances and an exhibition of traditional handicrafts.

“It was a great experience, especially as it took place at Al-Masmak Palace which was a significant starting point of the Kingdom’s unification. I appreciated the merging of history, culture and heritage with such a lively atmosphere,” visitor Mohammed Al-Saif told Arab News.

Maha Al-Ammar said Riyadh Season had added color to the city. “Riyadh has really changed. Look at where we were before and where we are now. Everything is so beautiful,” she said. “Nabd Al-Riyadh is such a well organized cultural event.”

Another visitor, Anfal Al-Jaferi, said: “We didn’t get to witness such events in the past, but now they are everywhere, in many zones.

“I didn’t feel the need to shop because the scenery was so enjoyable, and the themes of the events were mesmerizing. The effort that has gone into Riyadh Season is clear to see.”

Riyadh Season continues until Dec. 15 with a raft of artistic, sporting and cultural events, including theater, music performances and fashion shows.