Cairo: A flagship Saudi entertainment and tourist festival underway in the capital Riyadh has drawn 1 million visitors in its first week, according to a Saudi official.
“The number of visitors of the Riyadh Season has reached 1 million until now,” head of the Saudi General Entertainment Authority (GEA) Turki Alalsheikh, said.
The fourth edition of the Riyadh Season kicked off on October 28 with specular shows including an epic fight that saw British boxer Tyson Fury outrivaling former world champion in mixed martial arts Francis Ngannou in a showdown dubbed the “battle of the baddest”.
The current edition of the festival features a variety of choices for visitors.
This year’s Boulevard World zone, a major feature of the festival, introduces new entertainment experiences after its space has increased by over 40 per cent.
Among other attractions, the Boulevard World enables the visitor to explore the inspiring culture, flavours and traditions of the Levant region.
The rich culture of the Philippines is, meanwhile, explored at the festival’s Suwaidi Park. The first week shed light on the Indian culture.
The Season’s diverse events, running for months, are taking place in 12 venues in Riyadh, featuring concerts by world celebrities, theatrical shows, a football museum and restaurants serving a variety of mouth-watering international cuisine.
New venues for this year’s edition include the state-of-the area Boulevard Hall set up on an area of 200 ,000 square metres and can accommodate up to 40,000 visitors at one time.
The season also features the “Wonder Garden”, a super entertainment city boasting 70 different games and global gardens.
In September, Alasheikh said they expect 10-12 million visitors at this year’s Riyadh Season. He added that 40 per cent of the anticipated revenue from the event has already been achieved through sponsorship deals.
Launched in 2019, the Riyadh season is meant to turn the city into as a global entertainment and tourist destination.
The second edition of the festival kicked off in October 2021 after it was suspended the previous year due to the global pandemic. The third was unveiled in October 2022.
In recent years, Saudi Arabia has sought to boost its entertainment industry as part of efforts to diversify its oil-independent economy. In this regard, a string of concerts, cinema, theatrical shows and competitions have been staged, drawing large audiences from inside and outside the kingdom.
In May 2016, the kingdom created the General Entertainment Authority, a state agency that has since sponsored a slew of stellar concerts, stage shows and festivals.
Saudi Arabia aims to receive 25 million foreign tourists this year.