RIYADH: The Saudi Entertainment and Amusement Summit and Expo is set to return to Riyadh next month, with exhibitors from around the world showcasing the latest and greatest advances in the sector.
The Kingdom is ramping up efforts to expand its entertainment, cultural and leisure market into a multibillion-dollar industry as a part of its social and economic transformation in line with Vision 2030.
Since the program’s launch in 2016, the public sector has undergone a major transformation, with sustainable cities being built along the nation’s coasts and deserts, and a huge inflow of foreign investment.
Saudi Arabia plans to invest $64 billion in the entertainment and leisure market in the 2020-30 period, with experts forecasting the industry to grow by more than 47 percent a year to a value of $1.17 billion by the end of the decade.
The SEA Expo, held alongside the Saudi Light and Sound Expo, will provide a showcase for this ambitious vision.
“With plans from Saudi Entertainment Ventures, a subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund, to invest $13.3 billion to develop 21 integrated entertainment destinations in 14 cities, to the Saudi General Entertainment Authority issuing licenses for more than 24 theme parks and 421 entertainment centers, the outlook for Saudi Arabia’s entertainment, leisure and tourism market over the next seven years is overwhelmingly optimistic,” said Sarkis Kahwajian, SEA Expo director.
“Saudi Arabia is unrivaled in its ability to rapidly grow and cultivate its entertainment and leisure industry, and at this year’s expo, we want to demonstrate through our summits and on the show floor how the industry has evolved over the last few years and showcase what it has to offer over the next decade.”
Bahaa A. Abdulmajeed, business development manager for tourism and entertainment at the Ministry of Investment, agreed.
“The Saudi entertainment industry is much bigger now,” he told Arab News. “It’s divided into two main pillars: destination entertainment like theme parks, water parks and entertainment centers like Qidiya and Seven, and live entertainment like the Riyadh Season and Jeddah Season.
“Now, instead of seasons, there is the Riyadh Calendar and Jeddah Calendar having activities throughout the year. The idea is to move from seasons into having a full-year calendar for entertainment events in targeted cities.”
International partnership has been another key focus for the entertainment sector.
As well as buying a 100 percent stake in the Saudi arm of US-based AMC Entertainment Holdings, Seven has partnered with a host of global brands, including Warner Bros Discovery, Clip ’n Climb and Mattel to help develop new entertainment destinations.
The SEA Expo will gather industry experts from across the world to explore the current entertainment, leisure and cultural market, network with experts from the private sector and government, and gain insight into the future of the entertainment industry in the Kingdom through knowledge exchange and discourse from some of the region’s foremost experts.
The fifth edition of the event runs from May 28-30 at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center.