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A scene from a stage show in Riyadh. Image Credit: Riyadh Calendar

Cairo: As many as 120 million people have attended entertainment events staged in Saudi Arabia since 2019, a Saudi official has said, as the kingdom is seeking to diversify its oil-reliant economy.

Head of Saudi Arabia’s state General Entertainment Authority Turki Al Al Sheikh added that the figure has been achieved despite the challenges posed by the global pandemic.

“The number of visitors to the events held by the public and private sectors licensed by the General Entertainment Authority from 2019 until today has reached 120 million. Do you realise the figure? This has been achieved despite the tough COVID time” Al Al Sheikh said on Twitter.

Established in 2016, the General Entertainment Authority has collaborated with private sector partners in launching a series of events in different areas of Saudi Arabia including Riyadh and Jeddah to draw local and foreign audiences.

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has sought to boost its entertainment industry, staging a series of star-studded concerts, cinema, theatrical shows and competitions.

Last October, Al Al Sheikh disclosed that a major entertainment zone will be launched in Riyadh as part of the kingdom’s vigorous efforts made under an ambitious economic overhaul plan dubbed Saudi Vision 2030.

Named Boulevard World, the facility features the world’s largest artificial lake with submarines and a village for superhero fans.

“Imagine you are visiting the US, France, Britain, Greece, India, China, Morocco, Japan, Mexico and Italy at the same time,” he told Saudi television Al Ekhbariya at the time.

In April 2018, Saudi Arabia reopened cinemas for the first time in nearly four decades.

The kingdom aims to receive 25 million foreign tourists this year.