(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)
A healthy debate is going on over social media and Saudi arenas mostly about objecting and welcoming a concept that is present in all countries all over the world, and has been absent in the kingdom for decades. It is entertainment, a concept absent from a state where 70% of its population is youth.
Naturally, any real change is equipped with enthusiastic supporters and conservative opposers, while a few await further developments to determine their position.
Vision 2030 admits implicitly that Saudi city life is boring and in routine and Saudi citizens constantly complain of lack of entertainment in their country.
Although the attendees’ queues, and many others who couldn’t attend events, prove the society’s excitement for entertainment, any rejection or discretion from others is a natural reaction for any real change in a society. Opposing any change is expected and should not be regarded as a strange thing.
I don’t think anyone can argue that entertainment as a concept is important for all societies, let alone that such trends are very profitable for neighboring countries, most of which are Saudi attendees.
The argument may be on the content of the events given that some think it is not suitable for the Saudi society. It is understandable as they are entitled to their own opinions regardless of what they are. Some prefer to attend such events in Bahrain, Dubai or Qatar. It is only a matter of time until those against such things will begin to accept the unavoidable truth.
Needless to say that there may occur mistakes and many events may get out of hand, which is also natural for an industry that is still young.
It is rather unfair to judge the entertainment committee and it has been a year since its establishment.
Industry of entertainment is crucial for Saudis not only for joy and amusement like many believe. There are many other purposes that no government should overlook, such as creating new job opportunities.
Entertainment, among other sectors, is expected to reduce unemployment from 11.6% to 7% which is close to the international rates and is the priority of the Saudi Vision 2030.
It would also boost tourism as part of the National Transform Program, knowing that in 2015, Saudis spent $26 billion on external tourism, and enhance both the private and public sectors to organize festivals.
It would also activate the role of public committees in contributing to establish and develop entertaining centers, encourage local and foreign investors to form partnerships with international companies, establish museums and libraries, and support talented authors and directors.
Not to forget the several cultural aspects that accompany such events and cater to everyone’s taste.
Is it possible to ignore all those social and economic benefits only because some don’t understand the truth about entertainment??
Development is not solely limited to the economic aspects; it is also about building a balanced healthy society capable of achieving a healthy relaxing environment.
Saudi Arabia is on its way to create a revolution in entertaining its citizens, improve the tourism sector, and enhance the infrastructure.
Those who are against this will eventually go on with the society’s desires no matter how long they object or how strong they criticize.