JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority has launched a public consultation to give people in the Kingdom a chance to comment on the authority’s plans for regulating the nation’s growing entertainment sector.

The draft proposals for the development and enhancement the sector, in line with the aims of Saudi Vision 2030, are split into 20 articles in seven sections covering a range of recreational activities, including: digital entertainment, the establishment and operation of amusement parks and entertainment centers, entertainment destinations, and events such as live shows, festivals, plays, concerts and exhibitions.

They also specify nine types of licenses and permits and two accreditation certificates covering recreational activities of various kinds, along with flexible mechanisms for quickly issuing, renewing, amending and canceling licenses.

The proposed regulations also set out the obligations placed on licensees, the most important of which include that they respect public order and local moral values, and observe the national identity. They also detail how the authority will monitor recreational activities to ensure public safety, and violations that can result in the cancellation or suspension of a license.

There are also proposals for developing investment opportunities, including the allocation of some land for the establishment of recreational facilities and entertainment activities.

Residents can comment on the plans through the online Public Consultation Platform (Istitlaa) of the National Competitiveness Center. The aim is to encourage transparency about the plans between individuals, stakeholders and specialists in the public and private sectors, and give everyone in the Kingdom a chance to express their opinions.

The broader objectives of the proposals are to create a modern and appropriate environment for events in the Kingdom, support local content and sponsor small and medium enterprises.

Arab News asked legal experts and event-management professionals for their thoughts about the new system and what it means for the Kingdom’s entertainment sector.

“The functions of the GEA are clear and explicit,” Hatoon Jambi, an in-house lawyer with Saaed Company, told Arab News. “Among the provisions are the ability to grant licenses. This will allow individuals who want to participate in entertainment, and those with specific talents, to have a place in the sector.”

She added that such support will contribute to the development of the local economy.

Dimah Al-Sharif, Saudi legal counsel with Proctor and Gamble, said: “Sharing the drafts of the regulations with the public actually contributes to obtaining the views and opinions of the public, as well as the recommendations of specialists and legal experts (on the matter).

“Especially if the draft is tackling the practices of a specific sector or industry, the input received from its practitioners and beneficiaries will enhance the accuracy of its implementation.”

Bador Kayyal, a project manager with events and marketing company Masahaat, told Arab News that the public consultation shows the GEA wants “to maintain the high standards of its sector, while making sure that all marketing elements included in the proposed event match what’s included inside the area.”

He added that “this way, the GEA can hold the event-management company accountable in case it fails to deliver what is promised. It also creates trust between the customer and the agency, once it is approved by the GEA, meaning that the event will have a high level of professionalism and keep the customer experience as the main goal.”


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