Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s announcement of the project to build an entertainment city in Al-Qidiya indicates the country’s engagement in the industries of manufacture and innovation on the entertainment front instead of just being a consumer.
The city, which covers an area of 334 square kilometers, marks a serious phase toward establishing professional entertainment in the country. During spring break few days ago, border crossings were packed with people heading from Saudi Arabia to the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar. This was in addition to many who traveled by air.
The purpose of traveling was leisure entertainment, sitting in cafés, watching movies, enjoying concerts and celebrating with music. All these are means of relaxation. Citizens want these means available in their cities.
Every person has the right to decide whether he wants to stay at home or go outdoors. Entertainment is a matter of choice made available within the city and based on people’s different tastesTurki Aldakhil
Matter of choice
Entertainment is not obligatory but a choice. It does not cancel any other activity. It is one’s right not to attend concerts or go to amusement parks or outdoor recreation centers. Every person has the right to decide whether he wants to stay at home or go outdoors. Entertainment is a matter of choice made available within the city and based on people’s different tastes.
The deputy crown prince is part of the young generation, which represents the biggest segment of our society. They know what they want and what they aspire for.
Entertainment and fun are essential elements of this aspiration; especially considering it means Saudi money will be spent within their own country instead of being spent in other countries.
This article was first published in Okaz on April 13.
Turki Aldakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and Alarabiya.net, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.