Ra­madan fun ac­tiv­i­ties re­flect on Saudi

The Miracle - - Front Page -

RIYADH: The holy month of Ra­madan is one of the plat­forms used to re­in­force morals, ethics, and Is­lamic val­ues through prac­tic­ing rit­u­als. How­ever, the Gen­eral En­ter­tain­ment Au­thor­ity (GEA) has been shoul­der­ing the re­spon­si­bil­ity to de­liver and re­in­force these val­ues in its own way by sup­port­ing events across the King­dom that in­tro­duce chil­dren and teenagers to the King­dom’s cul­ture, cus­toms and tra­di­tions. The huge num­ber of events can surely play a role in help­ing more lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional in­vestors to step into the mar­ket. Arab News met Ab­dul­rah­man Al-Khal­ifa, GEA me­dia and com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager, to dis­cuss the po­ten­tial this mar­ket has and the chal­lenges it faces. He ex­plained that while the au­thor­ity sup­ports or­ga­ni­za­tion of events, not all re­ceive fi­nan­cial back­ing. “We can fi­nance up to 30 per­cent of events tak­ing place in the King­dom for the first time; the fi­nan­cial sup­port is usu­ally given to the most cre­ative events. Al-Khal­ifa added that the GEA’s main aim is to cre­ate com­pet­i­tive­ness, raise stan­dards and keep ticket prices at a suit­able level for both in­vestors and vis­i­tors. “We do not di­rectly con­trol the pric­ing rate; how­ever, we pro­vide the in­vestors and or­ga­niz­ers with our con­sul­ta­tions.” It has set a tar­get of run­ning 5,500 events across the King­dom’s 13 gov­er­norates dur­ing 2018. Cur­rently, the num­ber of in­vestors is in­creas­ing, al­though the sec­tor is still ex­per­i­ment­ing. The po­ten­tial is ex­tremely high, es­pe­cially after the un­veil­ing of the “Qual­ity of Life 2020” pro­gram, aim­ing to en­hance life­styles for ev­ery­one in the King­dom by 2020. This in­cludes the es­tab­lish­ment of one opera house and 16 theaters, open­ing 45 cine­mas and 16 en­ter­tain­ment cen­ters, cre­at­ing an aqua park and three fun­fairs and the cre­ation of an art and cul­ture is­land in Jed­dah. Al-Khal­ifa added that the door is open for in­ter­na­tional in­vestors. With the co­op­er­a­tion with Gen­eral In­vest­ment Au­thor­ity, high-pro­file meet­ings were held with en­ter­tain­ment in­vestors and big com­pa­nies’ CEOs in the US dur­ing Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man’s visit. And 350 in­ter­na­tional in­vestors at­tended a sum­mit in Los An­ge­les to hear more about op­por­tu­ni­ties in the King­dom. Five agree­ments were signed dur­ing the sum­mit, in­clud­ing for a Cirque du Soleil per­for­mance, co­op­er­a­tion with Feld En­ter­tain­ment Inc. to pro­duce and con­duct live shows, as well as Dis­ney live shows. Co­op­er­a­tion with Na­tional Ge­o­graphic will re­sult in 10 virtual re­al­ity cities by 2019. “For­eign in­vest­ment will surely help with job cre­ation for Saudi youth through­out the process of prepa­ra­tion, op­er­a­tion and ex­e­cu­tion, help­ing all par­ties to con­duct win-win busi­ness,” he said.

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