November 19, 2023

Saudi Arabia’s Cultural Pulse: A 2022 Overview

Saudi Arabia's Cultural Pulse: A 2022 Overview

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Investment in the cultural sector

As announced earlier during October 2023 in our news section. The fourth edition of the Cultural Status Report for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2022 aims to comprehensively capture the evolution of the cultural sector, tracking its overarching trends and assessing its performance. This report highlights growth indicators across various dimensions, from heightened community involvement in cultural activities and increased cultural tourism to the expanding workforce and greater female participation in the cultural labor market. Additionally, it underscores the ongoing enhancement of infrastructure.

These positive developments directly contribute to the escalating demand for culture, aligning with the objectives of the national strategy for culture, which aims to optimize culture’s role in driving economic growth. Beyond its inherent functions in reinforcing identity, fostering societal cohesion, and promoting individual well-being, culture emerges as a facilitator of livelihoods and an engine for economic prosperity.

Within the multifaceted realm of culture, the cultural sector serves as a catalyst for employment, encompassing roles for writers, photographers, artisans in handmade cultural industries, independent designers, professional theater groups, investors in fashion design brands, and contributors to traditional restaurants or film production studios. Culture not only generates economic value but also imbues social significance. However, for this burgeoning sector to fully unlock its potential for economic returns and attract increased private and public investments, it must establish stability across regulatory frameworks, facilities, infrastructure, and investment – recognizing that creators are the wellspring of creative value.

Given the imperative of a long-term perspective on investment components, the 2022 report centers on “Investment in the Cultural Sector.” Despite the sector’s relative novelty and limited data, the report identifies promising signs in the rising demand for cultural services and products. These trends suggest the potential transformation of cultural projects into sustainable businesses with rapid financial growth.

The report delves into key regulatory developments shaping the investment landscape, spanning intellectual property protection systems to tourism-related regulations, a significant driver of demand for the cultural sector. It also unveils promising investment opportunities, both in terms of substantial local investments and an uptick in foreign investment licenses.

In the realm of cultural facilities, the private sector has assumed a pivotal role, channeling investments into the establishment of new movie theaters and activating existing facilities through public-private partnerships. Government projects aimed at revitalizing infrastructure and cultural facilities, including museums, theaters, and libraries, continue to progress with construction, rehabilitation, and meticulous planning. This encompasses the establishment of standards and specifications for developing facilities, ensuring their alignment with evolving cultural needs and aspirations.

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