Cinema investment in Saudi Arabia set to hit SR5bn in 2020

Saudi cinema-goers at a VOX movie theater in Riyadh Park Mall. (AFP)
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Updated 29 January 2020

Cinema investment in Saudi Arabia set to hit SR5bn in 2020

  • Saudi conference study reveals 140 cinemas planned for Kingdom creating estimated 5,300 jobs
  • One of the main goals of the Vision 2030 reform plan was to increase household spending on domestic entertainment from 2.9 percent to 6 percent of total expenditure

JEDDAH: Investment in building new cinemas in Saudi Arabia was expected to top SR5 billion ($1.33 billion) during 2020, according to latest figures.

Data published ahead of the Cinema Build KSA 2020 conference, taking place at the Fairmont hotel in Riyadh on Feb. 19 to 20, revealed that 140 movie theaters were planned to open in 30 malls throughout the Kingdom, creating more than 5,300 job opportunities.

The Saudi cinema industry would see enormous growth and was set to become the leader in the region having already gained attention from stakeholders around the globe, research from conference partner Great Minds Group predicted.

With a total of 1,323 screens planned for the country, demand for materials and resources to build cinemas has increased dramatically.

The Cinema Build KSA report revealed that an estimated 158,760 cinema seats and more than 5,953,500 square feet of carpet would be required to realize this year’s growth plans, in addition to more than 18,852,750 square feet of gypsum boards, wall panels, and specialist ceiling materials and 1,250 air-handling units.

One of the main goals of the Vision 2030 reform plan was to increase household spending on domestic entertainment from 2.9 percent to 6 percent of total expenditure, considering that Saudi nationals spent about $30 billion annually on tourism and entertainment outside the Kingdom.

Supporting and enhancing the fast-growing cinema sector would not only recover Saudi investments abroad but would also create more than 5,314 job opportunities in 2020 in the Saudi market, according to the Cinema Build KSA report.

Saudi economist, Talaat Hafez, told Arab News: “People here, whether Saudi or expat, are hungry for the Kingdom’s entertainment industry to develop and prove that it can compete not only with its neighbors and GCC countries but with the West, and internationally. 

“The entertainment industry has shown significant growth in no time at all, along with other sectors such as tourism, information technology, cybersecurity, and logistics.”

The Saudi cinema industry was predicted to see enormous growth and being the largest gathering of cinema stakeholders in the Kingdom, Cinema Build KSA 2020 aims to serve as a learning center for building world-class film theaters.

The event is organized by Eyes of Cities in association with the Great Minds Group. Boasting more than 300 attendees, at least 30 sponsors and exhibitors, and 25 international speakers, the second annual conference will cover a broader aspect of the burgeoning cinema industry in the Kingdom.


King Salman orders free coronavirus treatment in Saudi Arabia, including residency violators

Updated 30 March 2020

King Salman orders free coronavirus treatment in Saudi Arabia, including residency violators

  • Royal order applicable to government and private health facilities

RIYADH: King Salman has ordered free treatment be provided to all coronavirus patients in all government and private health facilities in Saudi Arabia.

The Kingdom's health minister, Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah, announced the king’s order at a press conference in Riyadh on Monday and said it included citizens and residents - even those in violation of residency laws.

Al-Rabiah said the royal order was borne out of the king’s keenness to put the health of citizens and residents first and to ensure the safety of all.

The number of virus victims in Saudi Arabia reached 1,453 on Monday, with 8 confirmed deaths and 115 recoveries.

The president of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad, thanked King Salman for the directive.

“This reflects the human and moral approach the Kingdom is adopting in dealing with this pandemic,” he said, adding that Saudi Arabia “is keen to ensure that patients receive the necessary treatment according to the highest medical standards without discrimination.”

He added: “This gives the most striking example in preserving human rights and dignity as everyone, whether citizen or resident, should enjoy health and safety, including violators of the residency system.”

This move, he said, clearly reflects the Kingdom's approach based on respecting and promoting human rights on the ground. 

“This shows that the most valuable asset for Saudi Arabia is the human being, thereby guaranteeing a decent and healthy living, the foremost right of everyone.”