Behind my visit was the feeling that the time is right to build on the success of DIT’s UAE activities and look at developing a regional approach to this work through using our experience of positioning UK companies to work on large-scale multi layered projects featuring hospitality, leisure, retail & high-end residential elements. This has enabled us to target & build relationships with major developers & UK companies with significant pan-sector interests in the UAE & wider Gulf region.
Saudi Arabia is now undergoing significant change which is driven by the new Saudi 2030 vision which sets out a major national transformation plan. Under the 2030 vision, a target has been set to double household spending on recreational activities. One of the goals is “to provide culture and entertainment opportunities to the public, to support local talent and develop projects that will generate job opportunities and grow the economy.” The appointment in June of the new Crown Prince, along with a raft of other appointments of young Saudis, indicate Saudi is serious about delivering its vision.
I travelled across the Kingdom, visiting Riyadh, Jeddah & Al Khobar; my visit confirming that there are real opportunities developing in Saudi which will offer significant potential to experienced and innovative UK companies. The establishment of the General Entertainment Authority & recent media announcements of Qiddiya, an ‘Entertainment City’ near Riyadh; the Red Sea island development, the NEOM project and plans to significantly increase museums and cultural heritage sites indicate the scale and ambition of the plans being developed.
Talking to a number of UK companies since my visit, there is growing optimism that our creative industries/experiential companies can contribute to plans being developed, whether capacity building, helping deliver family-orientated entertainment or showcasing and promoting Saudi cultural heritage.
DIT is currently considering how best to develop targeted support for UK companies who wish to explore the opportunities that are surfacing but if you are interested in finding out more about opportunities in Saudi Arabia, let me know.
Graham Ellis | Business Specialist, High Value Campaigns | UAE Experience Economy & Expo 2020 Dubai | Department for International Trade | 3 Whitehall Place | London, SW1A 2AW | Tel: +44 (0)7825 196295 | E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org