Saudi Arabia to expand entertainment complexes to boost leisure tourism

Company backed by the Public Investment Fund is seeking private sector partners to help develop assets

Saudi Arabia is planning to expand entertainment complexes in different locations across the kingdom to boost leisure tourism.

The Saudi Entertainment Ventures Company, known as Seven, was established by the Public Investment Fund to invest in, develop and operate entertainment destinations in the country.

“We have a clearly structured development plan to build 20 entertainment destinations, 50 cinemas and two large theme parks in prime locations across the kingdom,” Abdullah Al Dawood, chairman of Seven said on Tuesday.

“We are committed to realising the goals of Saudi Vision 2030 to accelerate the creation of world-class entertainment assets in the kingdom that support economic diversification, create new jobs, and contribute to socio-economic progress.”

In Jeddah, Seven will develop several entertainment complexes adding to the leisure choices for more than four million residents and visitors. New entertainment complexes will also be opened in the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah, Taif and other places including Yanbu, Al Kharj, Buraydah, Abha and Khamis, the port city of Jazan and Tabuk.

In Riyadh, a new entertainment complex at Al Hamra will serve the densely populated neighbourhoods in the north-east of the capital, the company said. At the intersection of King Abdullah Road and East Ring Road, the project will serve over 2.5 million people within a radius of a 30-minute drive. Another addition to Riyadh will be the complex at Al Nahda, next to the new Nahda Metro station. Seven is also developing tourist spots in Dammam and Al Khobar in the Eastern Province.

“We are inviting the most ambitious and creative business partners and vendors to join us in our remarkable step forward to shape the entertainment landscape of the kingdom,” said Mr Al Dawood.

Seven was set up in 2017 with an initial capitalisation of 10 billion riyals (Dh9.79bn). It hired ex-Disney executive Bill Ernest to run it.

PIF said it expects the company's projects will serve more than 50 million visitors a year, create more than 22,000 direct jobs and contribute an estimated 8bn riyals to the country's gross domestic product by 2030.

The fund is investing in mega-projects including the Qiddiya entertainment city featuring a Six Flags theme-park and major new tourism resorts on the Red Sea coast.