Saudi Arabia to allow movie theaters to reopen from early 2018

Saudi Arabia to allow movie theaters to reopen from early 2018

"Opening cinemas will act as a catalyst for economic growth and diversification; by developing the broader cultural sector we will create new employment and training opportunities, as well as enriching the Kingdom's entertainment options", Alawwad said in a statement.

The ministry added that the government will begin licensing cinemas immediately.

Cinemas have been outlawed in the ultra-conservative region for 35 years as they were seen as a threat to cultural and cultural and religious identity. The GCAM is chaired by Awwad Alawwad, the Minister of Culture and Information.

As Bloomberg reports: "The kingdom hasn't had public cinemas since the early 1980s, when the US box office was dominated by films including E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and the Star Wars movie Return of the Jedi".

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Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world which forbids women from driving and has been highlighted as a key symbol of oppression against women in the Kingdom.

Public cinemas in the country have been illegal since the 1980s, but a plan to reintroduce them has been mooted by the head of the General Authority for Entertainment, Amr al-Madani, as part of the government's Vision 2030 slate of cultural and economic reforms.

According to authorities, Vision 2030 aims to increase Saudi household spending on cultural and entertainment activities from 2.9 percent now to 6% by 2030.

The Saudi government said there will be 300 cinemas with around 2,000 screens built in the country by 2030.

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