Saudi Arabia is set to host Disney, Marvel and Cirque du Soleil shows in the coming months as part of the kingdom's push to boost its entertainment industry gathers pace. The shows are expected to drive greater tourist spending and boost revenues from local tourism as well as bring foreign visitors to the kingdom.
Saudi Arabia has plans to stage about 5000 events this year alone, with an aim to generate 16.5 billion riyals (Dh16.15bn) in revenues and create 70,000 jobs within the entertainment industry by 2030.
Amr Banaja, the recently-appointed chief executive of the General Entertainment Authority, told The National in Dubai that they captive audience is already there in the Kingdom and 2019 will be the year to test the monetisation of these plans with a slate of shows and events.
Development of the local entertainment and media industry is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 economic plan to diversify non-oil revenues, modernise the society and create jobs for young Saudis.
In line with the plans, Saudi Arabia has already hosted sports events like pro boxing events and concerts by Western performers including Nelly and Yanni, announced plans for an opera house. The WWE’s “Greatest Royal Rumble” was broadcast live from the King Abdullah International Stadium in Jeddah. WWE has signed a 10-year partnership to produce a number of events in the country.