Domestic tourists made more than 10 million trips to cultural sites in Saudi Arabia in 2021, a 30% increase from the previous year, according to a new report.
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While the lifting of pandemic restrictions has played a role in the surge in numbers, increased investment in cultural sites has also been a factor, the Ministry of Culture said in its “State of Culture Report”. to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 2021″.
The ministry led a massive expansion of the Kingdom’s cultural offerings which saw a boom in the number of cinemas, theatres, art exhibitions, museums, libraries and cultural events.
A wide range of initiatives have supported the industry since the launch of Saudi Arabia’s national cultural strategy in 2019.
The detailed report describes a variety of grants and support funds, artistic and literary residencies, cultural competitions, business accelerators and educational programs offered.
Along with a spike in participation in organized cultural activities, there has been an increase in the number of domestic tourists enjoying the country’s natural beauty.
Popular destinations included nature reserves in Asir, Jizan and Medina provinces, while Makkah and Tabuk were chosen for their mountainous areas, according to the report.
“The Kingdom is experiencing an unprecedented and accelerating cultural transformation. We have built an environment that allows creatives to flourish; proud of their shared history while looking forward to embracing their future,” Prince Badr bin Abdullah, Minister of Culture, said in a statement.
The Culture Ministry highlighted the “promising” number of museums in the country compared to other Arab states.
While the numbers are still lower than other countries such as the UK and Japan, which have 47.9 and 45.3 museums per million people, Saudi Arabia’s 8.6 museums per million Saudi Arabia still exceed the figures of Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco, which have 0.9, 1.3 and 1.2 museums per million inhabitants respectively.
Cinema has also proven exceptionally popular in Saudi Arabia since the lifting of the ban on public cinemas in 2018.
That year, $2 million (7,621,055.06 riyals) was spent on cinema tickets.
The ministry’s report says $54.8 million (206,162,822 riyals) was spent on ticket sales in 2021.
In total, the ministry had 304 museums; 85 public libraries affiliated with the ministry; 262 theatres; 75 galleries and exhibition halls; 54 cinemas; and 20 literary cafes in Saudi Arabia.
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