Entertainment industry veteran, Bill Ernest, CEO of The Saudi Entertainment Ventures Company (SEVEN), which is fully owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), revealed exciting prospects for the region’s entertainment and leisure sector at the on-going MENALAC Leisure, Entertainment and Attractions Conference 2019.
Ernest spoke about how SEVEN is changing the face of entertainment in Saudi Arabia. SEVEN is behind the Kingdom’s first cinemas to open there in more than 35 years, in a ground-breaking partnership with US-based AMC Group, one of the largest cinema operators in the world.
He mentioned that Saudi Arabia’s travel and tourism sector accounted for some $65 billion of the Kingdom’s total GDP in 2016. The sector already contributes more than automotive, manufacturing, agriculture and banking sectors. He said travel and tourism in the Kingdom sustained over one million direct, indirect and induced jobs in 2016, and that the sector expanded by a massive 38.2% between 1997 and 2016.
SEVEN is one of the first companies in the region to embrace recently announced government investment plans totalling $64 billion to develop its entertainment industry over the next decade. In this context, he highlighted SEVEN’s plans for a massive multi-cluster family-friendly entertainment destination in Riyadh. Each entertainment destination will feature a cinema; augmented reality (AR) activities; green open areas equipped for sports and aquatic activities; entertainment and live shows; and dining venues. The Riyadh destination is planned as the first of many such family-friendly destinations, as part of the Kingdom’s ambitious Vision 2030.
With employment generation being a key tenet of the Vision 2030 Vision, Ernest mentioned, “Our offerings will create exciting new roles for ambitious young Saudi nationals. We will need to provide training in new skill sets. While employing locals, we also want to create friendly, awe-inspiring environments where Saudi nationals will want to spend quality time with their family and friends.”
According to SEVEN, the company’s projects are expected to serve more than 50 million visitors, provide more than 22,000 direct jobs and contribute to the GDP by approximately SAR 8 billion by 2030.
He stressed SEVEN’s key role in the new entertainment era sweeping the Kingdom, “Through our role as investor, developer and operator of various entertainment offerings Kingdom-wide, SEVEN aims to be the leader in Saudi Arabia’s entertainment ecosystem. We aim to facilitate the presence of both international and local brands, and in doing so, become the national entertainment champion.”
“We are here to enhance the quality of life of Saudi nationals and residents and meet their recreational expectations and needs. Things are happening fast, and SEVEN is proudly a driving force of Saudi Arabia’s newest sector,” Ernest concluded.
Words by Katie Streten Experiential Strategy Director, VMLY&R COMMERCE Throughout the last year,June 13, 2021 | By Shruthi Nair
UAE-based grocery retail chain, Grandiose has opened its first hypermarket in Abu
UAE-based Carrefour announced its theme and plans for Ramadan 2021. The brand
Locally owned supermarket Spinneys celebrates 60 years of doing business in the
UAE-based Carrefour will become the first retailer in the region to offer new levels
The Organic Farmers’ Market is back in Bay Avenue for its 12th
UAE-based Lulu Group recently inaugurated its first-ever all-female staff store in Jeddah,
Jones the Grocer, the gourmet grocer and cheese retailer launches the Jones
UAE-based Al Maya Supermarkets is hosting a two-week food festival at select
Locally-owned supermarket Spinneys has launched its ‘Power of Plants’ initiative in the
Carrefour UAE has launched “Cookit Yourself” — a curated recipe box created
UAE-based Al Islami Foods, one of the largest frozen food companies in
Marks & Spencer’s plant-based range now offers over 25 vegan products including meat-free
The once powerful department stores that anchored malls and streets around the
Who isn’t a sucker for discounts? Customers today are spoiled for choice
The various e-commerce and virtual retail stores that cater to different product
A private helicopter carrying the chairman and managing director of Lulu Group,
Words by Shubhojit Mahalanobis, Director of Danube Home UAE’s tourism & hospitality sector
Tighter restrictions on hotels, restaurants, shopping malls and entertainment venues on account of
All hotels and restaurants have been directed to temporarily hold entertainment activities
The new Dubai Gold Souk is “very much on track”, according to
Gone are the days of traditional brick-and-mortar as well as purely e-commerce
The Dubai Gold & Jewellery Group’s ongoing jewellery campaign, held in association
Retail Abu Dhabi, the retail platform of the Department of Culture and