Saudi Arabia’s government has announced plans to pump in around SR130 billion ($35 billion) into the culture and leisure industry by 2020 in bid to create 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 in Saudi Arabia, said experts ahead of an unprecedented event dedicated to cinemas and movie theatres' design, constructions & technologies.

The two-day Cinema Build KSA forum kicks off on April 14 at the Four Seasons hotel in Riyadh.

Organised by Eyes of Cities in collaboration with Great Minds Event Management, Cinema Build KSA Forum has taken the initiative to lead the local cinema industry, by bringing together the key stakeholders across the design, construction & technology sectors to discuss the latest trends & techniques of building world-class cinemas in Saudi Arabia.

The event will also reveal a wide range of new building solutions and equipment used in developing future Cinemas, Multiplexes, and Malls to serve as a key contributor to the industry, said the organisers.

These investments are all 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 SSR50.9 billion into this cultural revolution, while courting private investors and foreign partners for the rest of the investments.

According to experts, 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.

Commenting on the 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 have foreseen the massive growth opportunities in the entertainment sector in Saudi Arabia hence we are organising 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," noted Masinaei.

"We are very proud to see our vision materialise 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," she added.

With more than 4.5 million Saudis travelling abroad annually for tourism and entertainment spending around SR80 billion on movies and visits to amusement parks in the neighboring tourist hubs of Dubai and Bahrain, the government plans a SR240 billion 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.

Saudi General Commission for Audiovisual Media (GCAM) CEO 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," he stated.

"Alzahrani will inaugurate Cinema Build KSA Forum and present the opening speech. The General Commission for Audiovisual Media (GCAM), is the government organization in charge of developing, licensing and regulating the entire audiovisual 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, Arpan Dutta, Head of Operation, Empire Cinemas and Sunil Puthan Veettil, Managing Director, Carnival Cinemas.

Moreover, Mohammed Obaidullah, Head of Compliance and Control at GCAM, Kamal Al Nuaimi, Head of Registry and Information, General Commission for Audiovisual Media, (GCAM), Paul Schwarz, Partner at Acoustics, and Luke Somerville, the director at Compass Project Consulting will all be speaking at the event.

Partnering with Cinema Build KSA are an outstanding number of high-profile leading entities in the field of entertainment, Cinema constructions & technology like Fawaz Alhokair Group, Jeddah Park, Compass Project Management, TK Architects, & Design Novel Architecture.-TradeArabia News Service?

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