Riyadh Season is underway and in a matter of just three weeks, has drawn in around 5 million visitors, as confirmed by Turki Al Sheikh, the Chairperson of the kingdom’s General Entertainment Authority (GEA). The festival’s events and activities are spread out across 12 locations, which are split into 6 main zones: Riyadh Boulevard, Riyadh Front, Riyadh Car Exhibition, Riyadh Winter Wonderland, Riyadh Stadium, and the Diplomatic Quarters. There are also 6 secondary zones that are set to accommodate the millions of people looking to visit the kingdom for the festivities which are: Al Muraba'a, Al Malaz, Wadi Namar, Nabd Al Riyadh, Riyadh Safari, and Riyadh Sahara.
Under Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s initiative of Vision 2030, a key goal was to become one of the world’s top 5 tourism and entertainment hubs, and to welcome 100 million tourists by the end of the next decade – and the way things are going in Saudi Arabia, this goal seems like it could be achieved sooner than we think.
In order to make KSA tourist friendly, a new visa system was rolled out this September that allows for tourists from 49 countries to take a leisurely holiday in the kingdom, including people who have a valid UK, US, or Schengen visa. Within just days of opening, Riyadh Season had already attained its “end of season goals,” as it drew in over 24,000 tourists and 5 million visitors in less than one month.
Riyadh Season will come to an end on December 15th 2019, with 3 more huge seasons that will also take place before the end of this year, including Ad Diriyah Season, which starts on the 21st of November, and is expected to be featuring the ultimate “era of Mega Sports events through a slew of global showdowns from Boxing Championship, to Formula E-racing, Tennis Cup and Equestrian Festival,” Al Ula, which will open on December 19th and Hail, which opens on 22nd December.