The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the fifth largest country in Asia. Saudi Arabia is often referred to the 'Land of the two holy mosques' as it houses the two most important places in Islam. In 1979 cinemas and theatres have been closed. But now during the reign of King Salman and the influence of crown prince Mohammad bin Salman, change is happening - even if slowly.
Saudi Arabia is the largest country on the Arabian Peninsula. Now the country wants to invest as $64 billion into the entertainment industry over the next 10 years. This investment forms part of the country’s ‘Vision 2030’ program.
The country hopes to stimulate growth in the entertainment sector through this project. This year will see international artists such as Maroon 5 and Cirque du Soleil perform in the country for the first time. The government says that more than 5000 events are planned for the year.
“Our cities are among the safest in the world. Our cities have grown significantly in recent decades. We will seek to offer a variety of cultural venues – such as libraries, arts and museums – as well as entertainment possibilities to suit tastes and preferences. ” (Saudi Vision 2030)
The country is highly dependant on oil for income. Moving into other industries is important, especially now as the oil prices are low. Additionally many Saudis can enjoy the new entertainment in their own country, instead of travelling to neighbouring United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
The country has previously not even had cinemas.
Late last year when a 30-year-ban was lifted to allow for the construction of movie theatres. In Saudi Arabia, women need male guardians when leaving the home, for going shopping and travelling. Women also need to wear robes known as abayas when in public. Abayas are long wide dresses that cover the body and the women’s head. Women are still not allowed to drive, however this will change from June this year.