Saudi Arabia to invest $64 billion in entertainment in next decade
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Saudi Arabia to invest $64 billion in entertainment in next decade

With 5,000 events planned for 2018, kingdom continues to push Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s program of social and economic reforms

Visitors enter Saudi Comic Con (SCC) which is the first event of its kind to be held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (AP Photo)
Visitors enter Saudi Comic Con (SCC) which is the first event of its kind to be held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (AP Photo)

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia is to invest $64 billion in its entertainment sector over the coming decade, an official said Thursday, as the kingdom pursues a program of social and economic reforms.

General Entertainment Authority chief Ahmad bin Aqeel al-Khatib said the money will come from both the government and the private sector.

The authority said earlier this week that more than 5,000 events are planned for 2018.

“We are already building the infrastructure,” Khatib said, adding that ground had been broken for an opera house.

“God willing, you will see a real change by 2020,” he said.

In recent months, Saudi Arabia has organized concerts, a Comic-Con popular culture festival and a mixed-gender national day celebration that saw people dancing in the streets to thumping electronic music for the first time.

The opening up of new entertainment options in the conservative kingdom is part of a program of reforms dubbed “Vision 2030” championed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

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