RIYADH: With the event industry growing in Saudi Arabia in line with the Saudi Vision 2030 reform plans, the Kingdom is poised to become the central destination for events in the region.
According to industry experts who participated in the Saudi Event Show, which concluded here on Thursday, the events and entertainment sector in the Kingdom is set to undergo a major expansion in the coming years.
The two-day show held at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center, which attracted more than 2,000 events and entertainment professionals and 50 innovative exhibitors from across the industry, offered a platform for the attendees to meet and engage with key local and international stakeholders and discuss the Kingdom’s prospective opportunities for the industry.
The first day of the event hosted several renowned speakers including Mohammed Tayem, CEO entourage marketing and events, Basil Al-Dossary, CEO at Takamul Smart Technology, Alessandro Gaffuri, founder and CEO, CELS Group and Philip Wride CEO of Cheesecake Digital.
In the opening session, Al-Dossary discussed how the events and entertainment market is growing at a rapid pace in the Kingdom and with the introduction of cutting-edge technologies, companies will better engage and involve local audiences.
Al-Dossary told Arab News: “My focus was on digital transformation in the event space and how crucial is this for the sector. Digital transformation helps organizations automate and optimize resources and also perform data mining.”
He added that digital transformation is one of the cornerstones of the Vision 2030 reform plans and going digital is no longer a luxury but a must to take things to the next level.
This event, he said, shows the interest of the government to structure and govern the event management space and allow Saudi businessmen to get into a new sector.
“Saudi Arabia will become the first destination of the event in the region, be it in the entertainment side of cultural side, the country is really witnessing a significant growth into the event management space,” Al-Dossary added.
In another session, Tayem highlighted the role of the event industry in supporting the Vision 2030 reform plans and supporting the regional economy.
“We are witnessing a big surge in positive momentum ever since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman mandated the entertainment and events industry to become a key engine of economic growth,” he said.
“Saudi Arabia currently spends $22 billion on tourism and entertainment and wide-scale efforts are underway to build a strong local entertainment industry,” he added.
The second day of the event featured numerous keynote speeches and panel discussions highlighting the changing face of the event industry in the Kingdom and the role of startups and innovation in the event industry.
Experts emphasized that the industry has evolved as one of the most promising business propositions for a country’s holistic growth in tourism and commerce and that recent developments in Saudi Arabia narrate a bright chronicle.
“The overwhelming interest from the participants and exhibitors at Saudi Event Show underscores the desire and potential of Saudi Arabia’s events and entertainment market,” said Amar Daginawala, exhibition manager at Informa, the organizer of the show.