RIYADH: Turki Al-Sheikh, chairman of the board of the General Entertainment Authority and chairman of Riyadh Season, officially launched the countdown to the start of the event in its second year.
Al-Sheikh announced earlier that Riyadh Season would launch on Oct. 20, 2021 and said during a press conference on Monday that the first zone of 14 will open on Oct. 21.
This year’s event is expected to run until March 2022, with more than 7,500 events that will cover an area of 5.4 million square meters across 14 districts in Riyadh.
The program includes 70 Arab concerts, six international concerts, ten international exhibitions, 350 theater performances, 18 Arab plays and six international plays, in addition to one free-wrestling championship, two international matches, 100 interactive experiences, 200 restaurants and 70 cafes.
“Four areas out of the 14 will be free for everyone during the season, prices will be competitive,” Al-Sheikh said. “Pricing will be cheaper than other countries by 30-40 percent, so rest assured we are making sure it’s suitable for everyone.”
Attracting more than 1,300 companies, staging 1,500 events, hosting 75,000 visitors, issuing 4,400 licenses and permissions, producing 100,000 jobs and 100,000 trainers, are some of the milestones that the GEA has achieved so far.
“Riyadh boulevard when completed is here to stay throughout the year, and we are making sure to support other companies who have participated in the season to keep running projects all year round as well,” he said.
During the press conference, Al-Sheikh highlighted other prominent achievements, including nine different types of entertainment licenses, six training and development programs, and financing solutions to stimulate investment among others.
Reflecting this year’s theme “#Imagine_more,” Riyadh Season will bring the world to Saudi Arabia’s thriving capital city and cater to a wide range of age groups and interests.
It has been two years since the last season was launched, yet people still remember the moments they experienced then. Riyadh Season 2019 covered 12 main zones of the capital and six branches around the city, including the biggest fight on the planet, “Clash on the Dunes,” the Insomnia Gaming Festival, a spectacular fireworks display, MDL Beast music festival, and the “Leila, the Land of Imagination” show that brought the season to an end.
Riyadh Season is part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 goals to diversify the Kingdom’s economy away from oil, transform the country into one of the most important tourists and destination hubs globally, and put Saudi Arabia on the global tourism and leisure map.
Meanwhile, Minister of Commerce and Acting Minister of Media Majid Al-Qasabi reviewed the latest developments locally and internationally during the press conference.
“The pandemic gave us an opportunity to discover special, heritage and tourist sites in our homeland,” he said. “The launching of the human development capability program by his royal highness aims to reinforce the competitiveness of the Saudi citizen on a local and national scale.”
The minister commented on the Kingdom’s pavilion at the Dubai World Expo 2020, which made its way into the Guinness World Records, winning in three categories. The Riyadh International Book Fair 2021 taking place this week also saw the participation of 1,000 local, Arab and international publishing houses from 28 countries and highlighted more than 1,000,000 books, making it the largest book fair in the region.
On the Japanese Nikkei index, Saudi Arabia was ranked second among 121 countries for recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Non-oil exports hit a record-breaking SR255 billion in the period between June 2020 to June 2021, and Al-Qasabi said that this was a clear indication of reaching Vision 2030 milestones.