Cinemas to re-open in Saudi Arabia after 35 years

ANI | Updated: Dec 11, 2017 20:10 IST

Jeddah [Saudi Arabia], Dec 11 (ANI): The cinema theatres in Saudi Arabia are set to be re-opened after 35 years.

The Arab News quoted Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Culture and Information, as saying, that commercial cinemas would be allowed to operate in the Kingdom as of early 2018.

As part of the Vision 2030, this is another reformist step that the Kingdom has taken after allowing women to drive from June 2018.

According to authorities, Vision 2030 aims to increase Saudi household spending on cultural and entertainment activities from 2.9 per cent currently to 6 per cent by 2030.

The Board of the General Commission for Audiovisual Media (GCAM), which is chaired by the Minister of Culture and Information Awwad Alawwad, passed a resolution on Monday allowing the authority to grant licences to cinemas.

The Arab News quoted Alawwad, as saying, "As the industry regulator, the General Commission for Audiovisual Media has started the process for licensing cinemas in the Kingdom. We expect the first cinemas to open in March 2018."

The move marks the first time that cinemas have been licensed in the country since the early 1980s.

"This marks a watershed moment in the development of the cultural economy in the Kingdom," Alawwad added, in the statement.

"Opening cinemas will act as a catalyst for economic growth and diversification; by developing the broader cultural sector we will create new employment and training opportunities, as well as enriching the Kingdom's entertainment options," Alawwad was quoted, as saying, by the Arab News.

The announcement opens up a domestic market of more than 32 million people and it is forecast that, by 2030, Saudi Arabia will be home to more than 300 cinemas, according to the Board of the General Commission for Audiovisual Media. (ANI)