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Saudi Arabia to invest $ 35 billion in Theatres & Cinemas by 2020

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Saudi Arabia’s government announced an initiative to invest 130 billion SAR in culture and leisure by 2020 aimed at creating a true cultural community to enjoy theatres and cinemas. This movement has been translated in several mega projects including 16 entertainment complexes, an aquatic centre and three other huge entertainment hubs. All are part of an offer to ensure that Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam become among the top 100 cities in the world for providing Quality of Life, a program which aims to develop and diversify entertainment opportunities to meet the needs of the population; & develop the Saudi contribution in both arts and culture.

The Quality of Life program also targets to increase of the number of out-of-home entertainment venues from 154 to 260 by 2020 and aims to raise the available retail space in shopping malls from 0.15 to 0.19 sqm per capita. In addition, the government plans to invest 50.9 billion SAR into this Cultural Revolution, while courting private investors and foreign partners for the rest of the investments.

The Kingdom’s decision to lift the 35-year ban on cinemas in December 2017 has opened opportunities for international and regional companies to help develop the domestic entertainment industry. As the world eyes Saudi's efforts to open for social and entertainment activities, in connection with the kingdom Vision 2030 program that aims to pursue economic reforms with efforts to reduce dependence on oil, Saudi Arabia is unlocking the massive potential of their cinema market and aggressively inviting global and local providers to participate in these business opportunities. Therefore, the Kingdom is tuned in to witness the launch of an unprecedented event dedicated to cinemas and movie theatres' design, constructions & technologies: Cinema Build KSA forum which kicks off on the 14th & 15th of April 2019 at the Four Seasons hotel in Riyadh.

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Commenting on organizing Cinema Build KSA forum, Leila Masinaei, the Managing Partner at Great Minds Event Management said: “The world is witnessing Saudi Arabia's confident steps toward an unprecedented era of social and economic reforms. The cinema ban lift opens doors to untrodden grounds for investments and lucrative revenue streams for the Kingdom and the entertainment sector stakeholders. We at Great Minds Events' envisioned and foreseen the massive growth opportunities in the entertainment sector in KSA hence we are organizing Cinema Build KSA Forum to represent a global platform and bring key entertainment project owners, government decision-makers, regional and international retail developers, family entertainment centers developers, cinemas, etc. and we are very proud to see our vision materialize into reality. Consequently, Cinema Build KSA invites all stakeholders to explore the opportunities in the entertainment sector, as reports expecting at least 300 cinemas, in addition to numerous Family Entertainment Centers to be built by 2030.”

(Also Read: Jeddah’s first movie theatre opens with 12 screens)

With more than 4.5 million Saudis travelling abroad annually for tourism and entertainment spending around 80 billion SAR on movies and visits to amusement parks in the neighbouring tourist hubs of Dubai and Bahrain, the government plans a 240 billion SAR investment to build the domestic entertainment and tourism industry offering Saudi citizens a series of entertainment and leisure products developed in an international level at their doorsteps to revive the entertainment and leisure industry and provide a boost to the wider economy.

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The KSA's General Commission for Audio Visual Media GCAM’s CEO Mr. Bader Alzahrani said, “The cinema sector in Saudi Arabia will see significant growth, especially with GCAM’s continuous efforts to facilitate and promote national and foreign investment to enter the sector. At the same time, GCAM is working toward achieving Quality of Life Program’s goal by opening 45 cinemas by 2020, with emphasis on providing various different entertainment opportunities for everyone, which will enhance and contribute to diversifying the economy”. Mr. Alzahrani will inaugurate Cinema Build KSA Forum and present the opening speech. The General Commission for Audio Visual Media (GCAM), is the government organization in charge of developing, licensing and regulating the entire Audio Visual market and industry in Saudi Arabia, including cinema operations and content.

Cinema Build KSA forum hosts a remarkable number of prominent speakers at its two days activities, including Mohamed Al Hashemi, Country Manager, KSA, Majid Al Futtaim Ventures LLC, Arpan Dutta, Head of Operation, Empire Cinemas and Sunil Puthan Veettil, Managing Director, Carnival Cinemas. Moreover, Mohammed Obaidullah, Head of Compliance and Control, General Commission for Audio Visual Media (GCAM), Kamal Al Nuaimi, Head of Registry and Information, General Commission for Audio Visual Media, (GCAM), Paul Schwarz, Partner at Acoustics, and Luke Somerville, the director at Compass Project Consulting will all be speaking at the event.

Cinema Build KSA serves as a platform gathering experts from around the globe to be a part of the Saudi ambitious plans of opening over 2,500 screens in the next five years. With the licenses being issued to the first set of exhibitors, the authorities are setting up a clear road map to achieve their plan in becoming leaders in developing world-class cinemas. The Forum is a part of MENA Cinema Forum series that has gained a great reputation and brand exposure in the region and internationally and will offer an unparalleled  experience and networking opportunities.

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