Entertainment sector in Saudi Arabia
In line with its Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia strives to nurture the quality of life of Saudi citizens through cultural, entertainment, sports, tourism, and urban activities. Hence, the Kingdom heavily invests in developing the entertainment and tourism sectors. With the introduction of a tourist visa in 2019 and the promotion of life events and cultural activities, the Kingdom has embarked on a transformation of lifestyle.
Main Actors of the Entertainment Sector
While the development of the entertainment sector is currently government-driven, with the General Entertainment Authority (GEA) as the main strategic developer, the overarching goal is the support and engagement of the private sector.
GEA was established in 2016, to regulate and develop the entertainment sector to be a self-sustaining industry, in cooperation with relevant government authorities and the private sector. While GEA is responsible for initiating new events and entertainment activities, the main life entertainment conductors, MDL Beast and SELA, all owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), implement events. In addition, the PIF company SEVEN (Saudi Entertainment Ventures) is developing permanent entertainment parks and themed venues to provide family entertainment.
To foster event facilitation, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched the Events Investment Fund (EIF) in January 2023, to funnel up to 7.5 Billion USD of foreign direct investment into developing the Saudi entertainment infrastructure by 2045. The EIF is focused on enlarging event infrastructure in Riyadh, Jeddah, and Taif Region to enable event implementation.
Accelerating numbers of events
Driven by the financial and strategic commitment behind the development of the Saudi entertainment sector, the Kingdom has witnessed accelerating numbers of events, venues, and opportunities for local and regional artists. One of the most prominent examples of Saudi life entertainment is the annual festival Soundstorm conducted by MDL Beast since 2019, which has attracted over 100.000 visitors and over 200 artists from all around the world in 2022. With its record label, MDL Beast additionally strives to enhance the global presence of local and regional artists. Seasonal events like Riyadh or Jeddah Season provide a series of diverse events to residents and international visitors.
The development of the entertainment sector is closely aligned with the Kingdom’s mega projects while being independent of one another. Mega projects like Qiddiya or NEOM plan integrated event facilities and have their independent strategy for events, sports, and cultural activities.
The future hub of Conventions and Exhibitions
In addition to promoting the entertainment sector, Saudi Arabia aims to become a future hub for conventions and exhibitions. In 2018, the Saudi Conventions & Exhibitions General Authority (SCEGA) was founded to enhance locational factors and regulations to increase the contribution of conventions and exhibitions to the national economy.
The booming entertainment and events sector of Saudi Arabia prompts extensive opportunities for German Businesses. Particularly in the field of event technology and production, German technological solutions are highly valued by Saudi event management.