Another seasonal festival in Saudi Arabia has opened its doors wide, attracting hundreds of thousands of attendees in a short period of time. Riyadh Season, which is hosting more than 100 events and activities till mid-December, has proven to be a success.
But with thousands of individuals comes a lot of trash and a lack of responsibility on people's part to place the litter where it belongs. Riyadh Boulevard's fountain has been reportedly affected by the litter, prompting the General Entertainment Authority (GEA) to take action on the matter.
In an attempt to stop people from throwing their bottles and bags on the floor, Saudi authorities have imposed penalties on those found to be littering. The fine ranges from 500 Saudi riyals ($133) for first-time offenders to 1,000 Saudi riyals ($266) on repeat offenders.
"In order for all of us to enjoy all areas of #RiyadhSeason, it is necessary to maintain the cleanliness and beauty of the place. Throwing waste outside its designated place will result in a fine," the festival said in a tweet.
Riyadh Season also shared a table to spread awareness on the different violations and respective penalties for those attending the festival's events.
Some of these violations include:
- Indecent acts including "misbehavior of sexual nature" will result in an $800-fine
- Playing music during the adhan (call to prayer) will result in a $266-fine for first-time offenders
- Individuals who dress in a manner that does not abide by the country's public decency law will receive a $26-fine
- Taking photos of people without their consent will result in a $266-fine along with deleting the footage
- Igniting a fire in non-designated areas will result in a $26-fine
- Attire that may be deemed offensive, racist, inciting drug use, and the like will result in a $133-fine
- Entering the festival illegally will result in a $133-fine
Riyadh Boulevard, an area that has been screening movies in an open-air cinema as well as concerts, witnessed over two million attendees over the course of four days, Turki Al Al-Sheikh, chairman of the GEA and Riyadh Season, announced in a tweet this week.
Riyadh Season is part of the "Saudi Seasons 2019 initiative," which was first launched in February. The initiative aims to attract travelers to the kingdom and it seems to be working.
In events that took place three days before the official opening of Riyadh Season, a whopping 235 million Saudi riyals (nearly $62 million) in sales were secured. More than 250,000 visitors attended those events. "80 percent of the visitors were Saudis while 10 percent from the Gulf, including 11 Qataris, and the rest from other countries of the world," Al Al-Sheikh said at the time.
Under the ambitious Vision 2030, the kingdom has been gradually driving its efforts away from oil-rich profits and putting forth a more diverse economic strategy.
In recent months, Saudi Arabia has been investing heavily in several non-oil sectors and its efforts have not gone unnoticed in the tourism industry. Among the key goals under Vision 2030 is to increase the number of tourists who visit Saudi Arabia and the revenues generated from the sector to 18 percent in the next 14 years, with a particular focus on leisure tourism aside from its religious counterpart. Back in September, Saudi Arabia rolled out tourist visas to citizens of 49 countries for the first time ever. The kingdom also loosened its legislative restrictions on tourists in hopes of attracting more visitors.