Manama: Malaysia will be the guest of honour at the Riyadh International Book Fair this year, organisers of the fair said.

Several activities and events will be held to highlight the rich cultural aspects of the country, Abdul Rahman Al Asem, the head of the book fair committee, said.

The annual fair, to be held from March 8 to 17 under the patronage of the King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, is one of the largest cultural events in Saudi Arabia and attracts thousands of visitors on a daily basis.

“Around 550 publishers out of a total of 1,500 have been approved and we have set up 18 different committees to ensure a successful participation and coordinate the various aspects of holding the fair,” Al Asem said. “There will be several innovations. We will have a stand to improve the standards of the services provided for the media and a special stand for the Saudi Journalists Commission. There will also be stands for electronic services in order to keep pace with the latest technological developments in book publication,” he was quoted saying by the Saudi daily Okaz on Sunday.

Books at the fair usually cover a wide array of subjects, including science, technology, history, literature, politics, religion, geography and medicine.

Al Asem said that the Ministry of Cultural Affairs which oversees the book fair had assessed the previous edition “in order to improve standards and ensure they are higher and better at the next fair.”

“Several meetings were chaired by Culture and Information Minister Adel Al Turaifi as the committees, a mixture of youth and experience, were formed,” Al Asem said.

Greece was the guest of honour at the book fair in 2016 while South Africa had the honour in 2015.