If you’re getting tired of Disneyland but can’t wait until 2022, then perhaps you should set your eyes on the “Disneyland competitor” project in Saudi Arabia, as was just launched a few days ago courtesy of King Salman.
The “competitor” is pegged to be an “entertainment city” near the region of Riyadh, and is part of a slate of multibillion-dollar projects that aims to diversify the Saudi economy. Projections are currently pointed towards a whopping 17-million visitors at the end of 2030, alongside foreign investment.
The entertainment city, to be located in Qiddiya, is slated to be a massive 334 sq km or 130-square mile wonder. Its first phase, projected to be completed in 2022, will include a series of locations such as a safari area, motor sport facilities, and high-end theme parks.
The project slate, called Vision 2030, was conceptualized by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Aside from economic diversification, the project also aims to help Saudi Arabia become less dependent on oil to power its economy. This is why Vision 2030 will also include a slate of investment and economic activities that aim to reinforce non-oil industry trade with Saudi as well.
Vision 2030: Outside Disneyland, Inside Giga Projects
Aside from the Disneyland competitor, it appears Vision 2030 will also be sight to two other huge “giga projects” that aim to push for both revenue and tourist interest in the country.
- Another one is what appears to be something called NEOM, which is hyped as a Middle East version of the Silicon Valley that will be constructed from the ground up.
- The last of the three “giga projects” will be a Red Sea resort that will also become a reef reserve.
Vision 2030, aside from its push towards creating infrastructure, will also feature various programs. These include:
1.) A Privatization Program, which pushes for the activation of state-owned assets to increase investment towards elements of the private sector. Vision 2030 will apparently push to privatize selected government services to improve their quality and at the same time decrease government spending, allowing the government to allocate funding into other aspects of the economy.
2.) A Public Investment Fund Program, which aims to grow the Saudi economy by creating a allocation strategy that will not only help develop stronger economic partnerships within the region and around the world, but to also ensure funding inside Saudi is allocated properly.
3.) A Fiscal Balance Program, which seeks to ensure socio-economic change within Saudi is achieved through a renewed focus on budgetary balance, committing to stronger financial governance, increase spending on projects and programs, and increase non-oil revenues.
4.) A National Transformation Program, which seeks to “transform” government entities, institutions, and some ministries by letting them undergo through a restructuring process that seeks to help them perform their tasks better and increase competencies.
Saudi To Host More Festivals, More Concerts In 2018
Aside from Vision 2030, it appears Saudi Arabia is also diversifying its cultural scene. For instance, the country has also just finished hosting its first public film screening, which is a first after more than 35 years and after finally lifting a 10-year ban on cinemas back in 2017.
Outside screenings are a slate of a whopping 5,000 concerts and festivals this 2018, which is double 2017 figures. If all push through, an approximate $64-billion may be pumped into the entertainment sector by the time 2020 arrives.
The projects and push for economic diversity would hopefully have more tourists and locals go to Saudi Arabia for their lifestyle and recreational activities, as Saudis had to cash in billions of dollars for amusement parks and films in neighboring hubs such as Bahrain and Dubai.
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