Lights, cameras, action… and more besides, at the Saudi Entertainment and Amusement Expo

Saudi entertainment, amusement, light & sound expo unveils cutting edge products in entertainment sector. (AN Photo/Rashid Hassan)
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Saudi entertainment, amusement, light & sound expo unveils cutting edge products in entertainment sector. (AN Photo/Rashid Hassan)
Saudi entertainment, amusement, light & sound expo unveils cutting edge products in entertainment sector. (AN Photo/Rashid Hassan)
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Saudi entertainment, amusement, light & sound expo unveils cutting edge products in entertainment sector. (AN Photo/Rashid Hassan)
Saudi entertainment, amusement, light & sound expo unveils cutting edge products in entertainment sector. (AN Photo/Rashid Hassan)
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Saudi entertainment, amusement, light & sound expo unveils cutting edge products in entertainment sector. (AN Photo/Rashid Hassan)
Saudi entertainment, amusement, light & sound expo unveils cutting edge products in entertainment sector. (AN Photo/Rashid Hassan)
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Saudi entertainment, amusement, light & sound expo unveils cutting edge products in entertainment sector. (AN Photo/Rashid Hassan)
Saudi entertainment, amusement, light & sound expo unveils cutting edge products in entertainment sector. (AN Photo/Rashid Hassan)
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Saudi entertainment, amusement, light & sound expo unveils cutting edge products in entertainment sector. (AN Photo/Rashid Hassan)
Saudi entertainment, amusement, light & sound expo unveils cutting edge products in entertainment sector. (AN Photo/Rashid Hassan)
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Saudi entertainment, amusement, light & sound expo unveils cutting edge products in entertainment sector. (AN Photo/Rashid Hassan)
Saudi entertainment, amusement, light & sound expo unveils cutting edge products in entertainment sector. (Supplied)
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Saudi entertainment, amusement, light & sound expo unveils cutting edge products in entertainment sector. (Supplied)
Saudi entertainment, amusement, light & sound expo unveils cutting edge products in entertainment sector. (Supplied)
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Saudi entertainment, amusement, light & sound expo unveils cutting edge products in entertainment sector. (Supplied)
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Updated 17 May 2022

Lights, cameras, action… and more besides, at the Saudi Entertainment and Amusement Expo

Lights, cameras, action… and more besides, at the Saudi Entertainment and Amusement Expo
  • Developers and manufacturers in the entertainment sector are showcasing innovative, cutting-edge products and services during the event in Riyadh
  • It is taking place alongside the Saudi Light and Sound Expo, the first dedicated event in the Kingdom for professional lighting and audio equipment

RIYADH: The Saudi Entertainment and Amusement Expo and Summit began in Riyadh on Monday, alongside the Saudi Light and Sound Expo, the first dedicated event in the Kingdom for professional lighting and audio equipment.

The three-day dual event at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center showcases thousands of cutting-edge products and solutions for the entertainment sector, and offers professionals in the leisure and entertainment sector the chance to discover new products, learn about the most exciting innovations in the sector, network and do business with vendors.

The international exhibitors are presenting a wide range of products and services, including thrill rides, playground equipment, arcade machines, food and beverage equipment, professional lighting rigs, sound systems, event technology, security tools, and marketing solutions.

Attendees can experience a variety of fun events and activities while engaging with local, regional and global entertainment communities at the Amusement Services International pavilion during the expo, where the line-up includes virtual reality experiences, the latest video and arcade games, and carnival attractions, to name but a few.

Among the technology on show is the 3Motion simulator, which uses hydraulic actuators with precise control to deliver the same dynamic feedback you would get when driving a real racing car. Meanwhile SODIKART, a leader in the karting industry, presents its latest products and services, including a kart simulator.

Matt Wells, the CEO of Frontgrid, which owns ParadropVR, a virtual reality flying experience, told Arab News: “I am very happy to be here having a great time at the SEA summit and looking forward to working with the people here.”

In March, Frontgrid announced an exclusive distribution partnership with ASI to support the continued growth and success of ParadropVR. ASI is now Frontgrid’s distributor across the Middle East, including in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the UAE, and in Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco.

Marloes Knippenberg, the CEO of lifestyle operator Kerten Hospitality is appearing as a panelist at the summit.

“The world has really changed; consumer behavior has changed a lot,” he told Arab News. “More than 60 percent of the Saudi population is under 35 and the expectations from them as consumers has really changed.

“When you look at this conference, at the perfect timing, I think never was there so much conversation like today, with a lot more opportunity for the hospitality sector in the entertainment segment. There are a lot more expectations and I am looking forward to it.”

The SEA and SLS expos were expected to attract more than 10,000 visitors. In addition to the exhibitors showcasing business opportunities, entertainment options, innovations, and technology, there are also sessions to discuss trends and future visions within the industry, and networking events.

The inaugural SLS Expo, meanwhile, offers businesses and developers the chance to show off their products and services through specially staged laser, light and sound shows.

RS Research and Strategy will share insights from its Voice of The Market research, conducted on behalf of the expo, to offer a deeper understanding of the factors that can help generate opportunities, or create challenges, for those considering entering the light and sound or entertainment markets.

Saudi Arabia has embarked in recent years on a rapid transformation that is not only economic in nature but also cultural, by identifying travel, tourism and entertainment as priority sectors as part of the nation’s Vision 2030 economic diversification initiative.

The General Entertainment Authority was founded in 2016 to organize, develop and lead the entertainment sector in the country, triggering a transformation and the introduction of a wide range of exciting entertainment options. Since then, the sector has grown exponentially in the Kingdom, helping to improve the quality of life of residents and contributing to economic development by creating investment opportunities and thousands of jobs.

The SEA expo, which was launched four years ago, is the only trade show in the country dedicated to the flourishing leisure and entertainment sectors.

“Saudi Arabia is leading the way in encouraging collaboration and action by thinking big,” said Sarkis Kahwajian, SEA Expo’s event director. “This will lead to a strong and sustainable future for the entertainment and amusement industry.

“Saudi Arabia is developing its tourism destinations, which represent great opportunities, especially since the Kingdom’s wealth of spectacular landscapes and cultural heritage is still unknown to the international traveler.”

Yael Coifman, a senior partner at Leisure Development Partners and the president of the Europe and Middle East division of the Themed Entertainment Association, said: “The goals proposed as part of the entertainment strategy for KSA are inspiring and visionary.

“We think there is real potential in this market and although some of the members are already involved in the planning, there are opportunities for many others to influence and help shape the future of the entertainment industry in the Middle East, bringing global knowledge to the region.”

One example of the ways in which the entertainment sector in Saudi Arabia is evolving was the decision by the government in 2018 to end a 30-year ban on cinemas. By the end of 2021, 45 movie theaters had opened in the country and screened more than 1,000 films. In addition, the Red Sea International Film Festival was launched in 2019 and the inaugural event took place in December last year.

It is expected that by 2030 there will be 350 cinemas and 2,500 movie screens in Saudi Arabia, and the industry will be worth about $1 billion.

The development and expansion of the entertainment sector in the Kingdom has spawned an ambitious construction pipeline of movie theaters, theme parks and sports-related infrastructure, along with the hosting of live mega events.

In addition, the great success of Saudi Seasons — an annual series of festivals across the country featuring concerts, motor racing, pop-up restaurants, auto shows and other forms of entertainment — have shown the huge demand in the sector.

The GEA has pledged to invest up to $64 billion by 2028 to develop the Kingdom’s domestic entertainment sector.

In terms of tourism, Saudi authorities plan to welcome more than 100 million visitors each year by 2030, and to this end have implemented numerous related initiatives, including an electronic visa system for citizens of 49 countries.


Saudi Arabia’s DGDA announces its official opening to the public on Dec. 4

Saudi Arabia’s DGDA announces its official opening to the public on Dec. 4
Updated 14 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s DGDA announces its official opening to the public on Dec. 4

Saudi Arabia’s DGDA announces its official opening to the public on Dec. 4
  • DGDA Group CEO Jerry Inzerillo told Arab News: “Three hundred years ago, the birthplace of the Kingdom was Turaif

RIYADH: The Diriyah Gate Development Authority has announced the official opening of the UNESCO World Heritage site At-Turaif and the Bujairi Terrace to the public on Dec. 4.

The DGDA on Monday held a special gala dinner at Bujairi Terrace for a number of World Travel and Tourism Council delegates who were present in Riyadh for the 22nd WTTC Global Summit.

The summit is taking place for the first time in the Kingdom in Riyadh from Nov. 28 to Dec. 1 at the King Abdulaziz International Conference Center.

Uniting a wide range of key industry players, this year’s edition of the WTTC Summit showcased Saudi Arabia’s pioneering efforts to reshape the world’s tourism map in a still-recovering, post-COVID world. As one of the industry’s largest events, the annual forum aspires to implement travel sustainability on a global scale.

The At-Turaif and Bujairi Terrace opening gala dinner was attended by Saudi Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Chair of WTTC Arnold Donald, President and CEO of WTTC Julia Simpson, Group Chief Executive Officer of DGDA Jerry Inzerillo, and a broad list of other high profile industry leaders.

In the upcoming week, visitors will have the opportunity to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of At-Turaif, the home of the first Saudi State, and dine at some of the world’s finest Michelin-star restaurants at the Bujairi Terrace.

Visitors will take a step back in time as they walk through the mudbrick palaces and pathways of At-Turaif that perfectly highlight the traditional Najdi architecture.

As a part of its opening, At-Turaif will offer 75-minute guided walking tours in both Arabic and English that will take visitors through the original seat of power, built in the 1700s, of the Kingdom’s Al-Saud family.

Upon its opening, visitors will be able to explore At-Turaif's Salwa Palace, a 10,000-square-meter complex whose first phases were built by Mohammed ibn Saud, the first ruler of the First Saudi State.

At-Turaif's palaces, pathways and detailed carvings in the Najdi architecture provide a glimpse into the past and a reminder of the origin of Saudi Arabia.

Along with the announcement of At-Turaif's opening, the DGDA will also host a variety of activities for the public, including theatrical performances, an Arabian horse show, calligraphy sessions, mudbrick-making shows and Saudi coffee experiences.

On Al-Nuzul Street, 13 buildings will host daily immersive theatrical performances that will take visitors back in time to experience life in At-Turaif during the First Saudi State.

Following the opening At-Turaif, Diriyah is also set to host a calendar full of events and activities for the public during the winter 2022 season.

Bujairi Terrace is also set to open its doors to the public on Dec. 4 with the aim of becoming the foremost luxury dining destination in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Located in Wadi Hanifah, Bujairi Terrace will offer 20 restaurants and coffee shops, several of which are Michelin-star restaurants, including Chez Bruno, Hakkasan, Long Chim and Tatel, overlooking At-Turaif.

Some of the international brands located in Bujairi Terrace include Angelina, Brunch & Cake, Café De Lésplanade, Cova / Cova Pasticceria, Flamingo Room, Joe & the Juice, Sarabeth’s and Villa Mamas.

Some of the local brands include TAKYA, Altopiano, Somewhere / Somewhere Dessert Bae, Sum + Things, and Hi.

Built from the same mud, water and straw used to construct At-Turaif, Bujairi Terrace will merge culture, history and luxury through live shows, historical programs, interactive entertainment and traditional performances from Saudi artists and musicians.

Earlier this week, some 1,500 employees at the DGDA put their signatures on mud bricks to be used to restore At-Turaif, the original home of the Saudi royal family and the country’s first capital.

DGDA Group CEO Jerry Inzerillo told Arab News: “Three hundred years ago, the birthplace of the Kingdom was At-Turaif. We give all our love and praise to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman, to restore At-Turaif, which was built by Saudis brick by brick, but no one knows their names.

“Now we are building the new Diriyah, transforming it, using the same material, same mud, same straw, same palm trees, but now we know everybody’s name.

“So the next 300 years of this will be built by all these people and will remain very emotional and very special to them.”

The DGDA aims to develop the birthplace of the Kingdom into a world-class tourism, entertainment and cultural destination. Upon its completion, Diriyah will be a $50 billion giga-project featuring some of the world’s most luxurious restaurants and hotels built in the traditional Najdi architectural style.

This is merely the first phase of Diryah’s opening. Once complete, Diriyah will offer more than 150 fine-dining restaurants and premium cafes, 28 luxury hotels and resorts, and 400 luxury and lifestyle brands.

 


Princess Seetah bint Abdulaziz Award to launch Derayah Forum next year

Fahad Al-Maghlouth, Secretary-General of the award committee. (Photo/Saad Al-Dossari)
Fahad Al-Maghlouth, Secretary-General of the award committee. (Photo/Saad Al-Dossari)
Updated 9 min 8 sec ago

Princess Seetah bint Abdulaziz Award to launch Derayah Forum next year

Fahad Al-Maghlouth, Secretary-General of the award committee. (Photo/Saad Al-Dossari)
  • The forum targets citizens and residents in the Kingdom, including families, specialists and institutions — governmental, civil and non-profit

RIYADH: The Princess Seetah bint Abdulaziz Award for Excellence in Social Work announced it will hold the Derayah Forum under the title “What if…How do you act?” for three days beginning Jan. 3, 2023.

Over 60 government and private institutions will participate.

Dr. Fahad Al-Maghlouth, secretary-general of the award, said that the aim of the forum is to improve the quality of life through a positive social environment based on awareness, prevention and intervention.

Prince Saud bin Fahad bin Abdullah bin Mohammad bin Saud Al Kabeer, Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee and member of the Board of Trustees for the award. (Photo/Saad Al-Dossari)

The forum seeks to achieve its objectives by enabling individuals to navigate life’s challenges through awareness-raising workshops on security and safety, financial planning, information technology, legal matters and psychological health, among other topics.

The forum targets citizens and residents in the Kingdom, including families, specialists and institutions — governmental, civil and non-profit.  

Prince Saud bin Fahad bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Saud Al-Kabeer, vice chairman of the executive committee and member of the award’s board of trustees, described the forum as empowering, stating that it will equip people with basic knowledge and skills to face obstacles with competence and confidence.

It will also introduce them to their legal rights recognized by the Kingdom and contribute to achieving Vision 2030 goals by raising the quality of life.

 

 


World-class line-up of speakers announced for Riyadh Philosophy Conference

Dr. Mohammed Hassan Alwan. (Supplied)
Dr. Mohammed Hassan Alwan. (Supplied)
Updated 20 min 9 sec ago

World-class line-up of speakers announced for Riyadh Philosophy Conference

Dr. Mohammed Hassan Alwan. (Supplied)
  • Dr. Mohammed Hassan Alwan, the commission’s CEO, told Arab News: “Its influence goes beyond academic communities with this year’s topic showing the philosophical link between knowledge and exploration

RIYADH: In international line-up of top speakers has been announced for the second annual Riyadh Philosophy Conference, starting on Thursday.

The Saudi Literature, Publishing, and Translation Commission revealed the influential names due to address the three-day gathering at the King Fahad National Library.

The event, which runs until Dec. 3, aims to tackle issues affecting the future of humanity with intellectuals, philosophers, scientists, writers, and historians from around the world exploring a range of topics under the title, “Knowledge and Exploration: Space, Time, and Humanity.”

Speakers will include Alejandra de la Merced Fernandez, from the Universidad Nacional del Nordeste in Argentina, Joseph Cohen, associate professor of philosophy at University College Dublin, Norbert Frischauf, chief technologist and partner at SpaceTec and founder of the Austrian Space Forum, Nicolas de Warren, research professor of philosophy at Penn State University in the US, and Dr. Bjoern Gerd Freter, lecturer in world philosophy at the SOAS University of London.

Regional philosophers addressing the conference will include Abdullah Almutairi, head of the Saudi Philosophy Association, Dalia Toonsi, the founder and general manager of the Baseera educational consultancy, and Mishaal Ashemimry, special adviser to the chief executive officer of the Saudi Space Commission and the first female aerospace engineer among Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

Dr. Mohammed Hassan Alwan, the commission’s CEO, told Arab News: “Its influence goes beyond academic communities with this year’s topic showing the philosophical link between knowledge and exploration.

“It highlights philosophy as a field of study that is relevant not only to philosophers but scientists, historians, and astronomers.”

This year’s theme was chosen by the commission to create a convergence of science and philosophy. Discussion topics will include ethics in exploration, the dilemmas of artificial intelligence, the complexities of space diplomacy, and how these issues will shape the future of humanity.

Alwan said: “I am delighted to see a roster of world-renowned academics, scientists, and philosophers at the forefront of their fields, speaking at the second-ever Riyadh Philosophy Conference.

“We look forward to seeing them lead pioneering conversations to address the countless questions that arise from the rapid scientific development we see in society today.

“We hope that the outcomes and discussions taken from this will be used to ensure a positive impact on humanity,” he added.

The conference will feature lectures, panels, discussions, seminars, and workshops designed to be inclusive and open. There will also be activities and workshops for young people, including a debating competition for college students.

The event will also provide a chance for young people to engage in discussion with international academics, along with a space for children and young adults to engage in critical thinking activities around the theme of the conference.

 


Saudi Fashion Commission discusses sustainability with industry leaders

Saudi Fashion Commission discusses sustainability with industry leaders
Updated 28 November 2022

Saudi Fashion Commission discusses sustainability with industry leaders

Saudi Fashion Commission discusses sustainability with industry leaders
  • Commission announces launch of new center at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology focused on sustainability in textile science

RIYADH: The Saudi Fashion Commission hosted a virtual meeting on Thursday with experts and entrepreneurs to discuss sustainability in fashion.

The public was invited to attend the event, which examined the concept of sustainability and its role in the sector, as well as sustainability strategies and initiatives. 

During the meeting, the commission expressed its aim to support and stimulate the fashion community while also improving all stages of production involved in the industry, from design to product sustainability. 

It also said that it is working on several sustainability initiatives such as the second edition of its “GFX Swap Shop Riyadh” and the launch of a new center at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology to innovate sustainable solutions and technologies in textile science. 

The virtual meeting is part of a series of meetings organized by the commission to establish the best standards and practices to promote the Kingdom’s fashion sector.

 


Austrian Embassy in Riyadh hosts concert promoting cultural diplomacy 

Austrian Embassy in Riyadh hosts concert promoting cultural diplomacy 
Updated 28 November 2022

Austrian Embassy in Riyadh hosts concert promoting cultural diplomacy 

Austrian Embassy in Riyadh hosts concert promoting cultural diplomacy 
  • The concert featured performances by violinist Daniel Auner, his mother Irina Auner, who played the piano, and Ehab Abdin, who played the oud
  • The guest list comprised a diverse group of figures from music lovers to professionals in the cultural sectors of Saudi Arabia, from ambassadors to influencers

RIYADH: Austrian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Georg Postinger hosted the concert “Orient meets Occident,” blending Saudi and Austrian influences in a night of music and cultural celebration, on Sunday in Riyadh.

The concert featured performances by violinist Daniel Auner, his mother Irina Auner, who played the piano, and Ehab Abdin, who played the oud. 

“We are witnessing something that is a little bit of an attempt at something new,” Austrian Ambassador Georg Postinger told Arab News of the concert, which he described as a “merger” between East and West. 

The ambassador stressed the importance of holding events that promote cultural understanding and cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Austria. 

“You can kind of describe it as cultural dialogue,” Postinger said.

The concert began with classical Austrian music, which was followed by traditional Arabic sounds with oud player Abdin.

The guest list comprised a diverse group of figures from music lovers to professionals in the cultural sectors of Saudi Arabia, from ambassadors to influencers.  

The Auner mother-son duo played music from Fritz Kreisler and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with each performance followed by an explanation of the history and inspiration behind the music.

Following the Austrian set, Abdin performed traditional Saudi oud music, playing Farid Al-Atrash’s “Albi wa Muftahu” and Salim Al-Masri’s “Lamma Bada Yatathana,” among other pieces. The performance was met with a standing ovation from the audience.

“It’s a very wonderful feeling performing here, especially with the beautiful response from the audience,” Abdin said. 

Postinger said that the Austrian Embassy aims to continuously host events that promote cultural exchange and cooperation.