Women attend the Colour Run event during Riyadh season festival, in Saudi Arabia. (file photo) Image Credit: Reuters

Cairo: Saudi Arabia expects up to 12 million people to show up at next month’s Riyadh Season, a major entertainment and tourist event.

Head of the Saudi General Entertainment Authority (GEA) Turki Alasheikh said they expect 10-12 million visitors at the fourth edition of the festival due to kick off on October 28.

“We target 1 million tourists from outside the kingdom,” he told Asharq News TV.

He added that 40 per cent of the anticipated revenue from the event has already been achieved through sponsorship deals.

“The opening will be historic and unprecedented. We’ll surprise the world,” he added.

This year’s Riyadh Season will feature a 28 October showdown between Tyson Fury and Francis Ngannou in what is dubbed the “Battle of the Baddest”.

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.

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has sought to boost its entertainment industry, staging a string of concerts, cinema, theatrical shows and competitions that have drawn 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.

As many as 120 million people have attended entertainment events staged in Saudi Arabia since 2019, Alasheikh said earlier this year