saudi opera
Source: Flickr

As part of its efforts to boost the entertainment industry in the kingdom, Saudi Arabia is set to build its very first opera house.

The kingdom's General Entertainment Authority announced the construction of the opera house, which will be built in Jeddah, is currently underway.

The authority also shared plans to invest $64 billion in the entertainment sector within the next decade.

Ahmed Al Khatib, chairman of the entertainment authority, made the announcement on Thursday during a ceremony that saw Saudi Arabia's 2018 entertainment calendar be unveiled. 

"We are not talking about plans… Implementation has begun and we will continue to reach the desired level and achieve the highest international standards," Al Arabiya quotes Al Khatib as saying.

Al Khatib also said the kingdom plans to invest $64 billion in entertainment in the next 10 years, explaining that the funds will be provided by both the government and private sector.

He added that 500 companies have already registered to organize entertainment events this year.

According to Al Khatib, the entertainment industry has helped employ over 17,000 Saudi citizens in 2017 and it aims to reach 220,000 employees this year.

The kingdom has been taking its entertainment industry to the next level

"Today, change will happen..."

The entertainment authority also announced it has over 5,000 entertainment and cultural events lined up for 2018, promising to cater to all segments of the Saudi society.

"In the past, investors would go outside the kingdom to produce their work, and then showcase it back in Saudi Arabia," Al Khatib said at the ceremony. 

"Today, change will happen and everything related to entertainment will be done here."

Saudi Arabia has hosted several events the past year as part of its plans to promote entertainment. These efforts come in line with Vision 2030 that aims to diversify the country's economy.

In the first two months of 2017, Riyadh and Jeddah hosted two major concerts that were considered the first in the kingdom in seven years.

In April 2017, Riyadh held a concert by a Japanese classical orchestra. The concert not only featured a mixed-gender orchestra and a female lead singer, but it was also attended by a mixed-gender audience. 

But it hasn't been all about music. In February 2017, the kingdom hosted its very first Comic-Con that welcomed top international stars from popular series like Game of ThronesBreaking Bad, and Hannibal.