Entertainment industry playing a lead role in Saudi transformation

30 April 2024 Consultancy-me.com 3 min. read

The entertainment industry in Saudi Arabia has seen a serious boost in recent years as the country continues on its course to becoming a hub for leisure – and overall a place for the wealthy to spend big. Consumer spending in entertainment is expected to reach $5 trillion by 2028, according to a report from Redseer Strategy Consultants.

The current boom in entertainment is driven by Saudi society’s increasing acceptance of movies, concerts, and other entertainment activities. In past decades, this vibrant cultural scene was virtually nonexistent and the main draw for visitors were religious activities, including various Muslim pilgrimages, like the annual Hajj in Mecca.

By 2028, the leisure and entertainment industry in Saudi Arabia is projected to see spending worth a remarkable $5 trillion.

Entertainment industry playing a lead role in Saudi transformation

The report from Redseer Strategy Consultants notes that the $5 trillion estimate is for attractions alone, with other tangentially related services and goods likely to account for even more spending. Ticket sales make up the lion’s share of that projection, with food and beverage being another significant portion.

Part of the reason for this major uptick in leisure and entertainment is thanks to the growth of tourism. With more and more tourists and expats in KSA after the end of the pandemic, the demand for entertainment is clear.

Among the GCC countries, Saudi Arabia has emerged as the top tourist destination in the past year. This meteoric rise has seen the country surpass the UAE, a long-time tourist favorite. In 2023, Saudi Arabia welcomed over 30 million visitors and hotel room capacity was expected to triple by 2030.

Entertainment industry playing a lead role in Saudi transformation

This growth in leisurely activities comes as no surprise, with Saudi Arabia continuing its shift towards non-oil revenue. The country has been working hard to boost other industries, including major efforts to put cities like Riyadh and Jeddah on the map for foreign tourists.

Since the period before 2010, the Saudi economy has decreased its reliance on oil revenue significantly, with the contribution of oil to the GDP falling by up to 50%. Other industries like finance, tech, and sports have begun to take the place of fossil fuels as concerns over climate change deepen and the country looks to clean up its image.

Entertainment industry playing a lead role in Saudi transformation

“Non-oil government revenues have more than doubled since 2016, indicating the success of diversification endeavors,” notes the report by Redseer Strategy Consultants.

“Moreover, the Kingdom’s proactive approach to economic reforms, with over 70 initiatives targeting the private sector, underscores its commitment to fostering an inclusive and robust economy.”

The remarkable shift of the Saudi economy away from a reliance on oil is part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 goal of reaching net-zero emissions before the end of the decade. Despite that being an incredibly ambitious and difficult-to-reach goal, a previous report showed the country was actually largely on course to meet most of its goals.