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Lights, cameras, action…and more at the Saudi Entertainment and Amusement Expo

RIYADH: The Saudi Entertainment and Amusement Expo and Summit kicked off Monday in Riyadh, alongside the Saudi Light and Sound Expo, the Kingdom’s first dedicated event for professional lighting and equipment sound.

The three-day dual event at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center showcases thousands of cutting-edge products and solutions for the entertainment industry, and offers professionals in the leisure and entertainment industry the opportunity to learn about new products, learn more about the most exciting innovations in the sector, network and do business with suppliers.

The exhibitions

Attendees can experience a variety of fun events and activities while engaging with local, regional and global entertainment communities at the Amusement Services International pavilion during the expo, where programming includes virtual reality experiences, latest video and arcade games and carnival attractions. , to name a few.

Among the technologies on display is the 3Motion simulator, which uses hydraulic actuators with precise control to provide the same dynamic feedback you would get when driving a real race car. Meanwhile SODIKART, leader in the karting industry, presents its latest products and services, including a kart simulator.

Matt Wells, CEO of Frontgrid, owner of ParadropVR, a virtual reality flight experience, told Arab News: “I am very happy to be here to have a great time at the SEA summit and I look forward to working with people here.”

In March, Frontgrid announced an exclusive distribution partnership with ASI to support the continued growth and success of ParadropVR. ASI is now Frontgrid’s distributor in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, as well as Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco.

Marloes Knippenberg, CEO of lifestyle operator Kerten Hospitality, appears as a panelist at the summit.

“The world has really changed; consumer behavior has changed a lot,” he told Arab News. “Over 60% of the Saudi population is under the age of 35 and the expectations of them as consumers have really changed.

“When you watch this conference, at the perfect time, I think there has never been so much conversation like today, with so many more opportunities for the hospitality industry in the entertainment segment. there are a lot more expectations and I can’t wait to be there.

The SEA and SLS exhibitions were expected to attract over 10,000 visitors. In addition to exhibitors showcasing business opportunities, entertainment options, innovations and technology, there are also sessions to discuss trends and future visions within the industry, and networking events.

The inaugural SLS Expo, meanwhile, offers companies and developers the opportunity to showcase their products and services through specially staged laser, sound and light shows.

RS Research and Strategy will share insights from its Voice of The Market study, conducted on behalf of the exhibition, to offer a deeper understanding of factors that can help generate opportunities or create challenges for those considering to enter into light and sound or entertainment. markets.

Saudi Arabia has embarked in recent years on a rapid transformation that is not only economic but also cultural in nature, identifying travel, tourism and entertainment as priority sectors under the national initiative. of economic diversification Vision 2030.

The General Entertainment Authority was founded in 2016 to organize, develop and lead the entertainment industry in the country, sparking transformation and introducing a wide range of exciting entertainment options. Since then, the sector has grown exponentially in the Kingdom, helping to improve the quality of life for residents and contributing to economic development by creating investment opportunities and thousands of jobs.

SEA, launched four years ago, is the country’s only trade show dedicated to the thriving leisure and entertainment industries.

“Saudi Arabia is leading the way in encouraging collaboration and action by dreaming big,” said Sarkis Kahwajian, event director of SEA Expo. “This will lead to a strong and sustainable future for the entertainment and amusement industry.

“Saudi Arabia is developing its tourist destinations, which represent great opportunities, especially since the Kingdom’s wealth of spectacular landscapes and cultural heritage is still unknown to the international traveler.”

Yael Coifman, Senior Partner at Leisure Development Partners and President of the Europe and Middle East Division of Themed Entertainment Association, said: “The objectives proposed under the entertainment strategy for KSA are inspiring and visionary.

“We believe there is real potential in this market and although some members are already involved in the planning, there are opportunities for many more to influence and help shape the future of the industry. entertainment in the Middle East, bringing global knowledge to the region.”

An example of the evolution of the entertainment sector in Saudi Arabia is the government’s decision in 2018 to end a 30-year ban on cinemas. By the end of 2021, 45 cinemas had opened in the country and screened more than 1,000 films. Additionally, the Red Sea International Film Festival was launched in 2019 and the inaugural event was held in December last year.

It is expected that by 2030 there will be 350 cinemas and 2,500 movie screens in Saudi Arabia, and the industry will be worth around $1 billion.

The development and expansion of the entertainment sector in the Kingdom has spawned an ambitious construction pipeline of cinemas, theme parks and sports-related infrastructure, as well as the organization of mega live events.

Additionally, the huge success of Saudi Seasons – an annual series of festivals across the country featuring concerts, car races, pop-up restaurants, car shows and other forms of entertainment – has shown the huge demand in the sector.

The GEA has pledged to invest up to $64 billion by 2028 to develop the Kingdom’s domestic entertainment sector.

In tourism, the Saudi authorities plan to welcome more than 100 million visitors each year by 2030, and to this end have put in place many related initiatives, including an electronic visa system for citizens of 49 countries. .

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