On Saturday, Saudi Arabia's King Salman officially launched Qiddiya, the entertainment, sports, and cultural destination that will be the first of its kind within the country, according to a statement from the Center for International Communication.

Spanning an area of 334 square kilometers, the new mega-project is just 40 kilometers west of the Saudi capital Riyadh and is expected to be the world's largest entertainment city by 2030, surpassing Walt Disney World in Florida, which is around 110 square kilometers.

Saudi media has previously suggested that the cost of the infrastructure alone could reach up to 30 billion riyals ($8 billion) and the project would eventually be worth tens of billions of riyals.

The inauguration was conducted in the presence of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as well as several other members of the royal family and ministers, and an audience of 300 dignitaries from around the world.

King Salman proficiently placed the last baton of the Qiddiya logo, triggering a spectacular firework show that lit up the sky outside the capital and dramatically illuminated the Tuwaiq Mountain cliffs overlooking the enormous site.

The ceremony also included a three-act show that took the audience through time, examining Saudi Arabia's past, present, and future growth.

The Public Investment Fund (PIF), which supports the project, affirmed that "Qiddiya is a cultural, recreational and social achievement that strengthens the rich fabric of Saudi Arabia and meets the growing needs of Saudi citizens to develop their hobbies, test their talents, and enjoy domestic tourism and leisure activities."

"In creating Qiddiya, we are building a brighter future. One filled with culture, sports, entertainment, and the arts that responds to the Saudi people’s desire for new and accessible activities that enrich their lives," said Michael Reininger, the CEO of Qiddiya.

"With nearly two-thirds of the Kingdom's population under 35 and over 7 million people residing within 40 kilometers of this location, international investors are taking note of this powerful, untapped market, right here, on the doorstep of Riyadh," Reininger added.

Michael Reininger also suggested that Qiddiya - with a land area that is a hundred times the size of Central Park in New York - aims to attract 17 million visitors by 2030.

By providing world-class entertainment options to the Saudi people, the project will also allow the domestic economy to recapture billions of dollars spent annually by Saudis on foreign tourism. 

These funds will ultimately remain in the Kingdom to be reinvested for the benefit of its citizens.

The first phase of the project will officially open in 2022, with its final phase ending in 2035.

This project will also contribute to the real estate development of the area, offering 4,000 residential units by 2025 and 11,000 by 2030, according to Arab News. 

In addition, Qiddiya aims to improve the quality of local life, not only through entertainment but also by providing around 57,000 jobs for citizens and opening new opportunities for the private sector in various industries.