Saudi Arabia, one of the most conservative countries in the world, is lately undergoing radical changes to meet the kingdom’s Vision 2030. Vision 2030 is a plan to reduce Saudi Arabia’s dependence on oil, and rather focus on diversifying its economy through health, education, infrastructure, recreation, and tourism. By 2027, Saudi Arabia is planning to welcome 31 million tourists. To do so, the Kingdom began to set new approaches to attract tourists. It all started a year ago with lifting the ban on social restrictions as part of the determined economic and social reforms. To learn more about the reforms and how Saudi Arabia is planning to attract and modernize the kingdom, continue reading below.
Cinema Doors Open After 35 Years
Bringing entertainment to Saudi Arabia is a huge part of the Vision 2030. Saudi Arabia banned cinema screenings for many years. However, after a long wait, cinema doors were finally open to the public. Before the opening of cinema screens, residents in the kingdom traveled to neighboring countries such as Bahrain and the UAE to entertain themselves. After the ban was lifted in 2017, residents are now finally enjoying watching movies in their homeland. According to the Saudi Gazette, Saudi Arabia will have about 350 movie theaters with over 2,500 screens by 2030.
Women Can Now Drive in Saudi Arabia
After the rise of the crown prince, Mohammad Bin Salman, many economic and social reforms changed to the better in Saudi Arabia. Saudi women are now getting behind the wheels after the longstanding ban on women driving. King Salman issued a decree in September 2017 allowing women to drive for the first time in the kingdom. Women in Saudi Arabia have been waiting for this day to come for so long. Before the ban was lifted, Saudi Arabia was the only country where women faced charges simply for driving.
Women Can Now Attend Football Matches
Women in Saudi Arabia are gaining new opportunities in terms of social restrictions. For decades, women were banned from going to football matches. However last year in October, the Saudi government began allowing female fans to attend football matches for the first time. Today, thousands of women are free to cheer, chant and wave flags of their favorite team in stadiums.
Home to Many Cool Events
Saudi Arabia strictly had banned live music and public events for many years. However today, Saudi Arabia is home to the biggest global entertainment events. Last year, the kingdom had its first Comic-Con where men along with women attended the event together. Last month, WWE Crown Jewel took place in the Kingdom’s capital city Riyadh. Moreover, on the 15th of December, the Formula E season-opening race will take place in the outskirts of Riyadh, AD Dariyiha. The event will be preceded by internationally renowned singers, bands, and DJs such as Enrique Iglesias, Jason Derulo, Black Eyed Peas, and DJ David Guetta.
Free Calling Apps Still Banned
Saudi Arabia’s conservative country is no longer so with the 2030 Vision. The kingdom has started easing on many restrictions. However, there are still other restricted laws that remain in force. One such is on VoIP apps.
Did you know that Saudi authorities restrict its residents from using free online calling apps? In other words, they cannot make free calls without buying and downloading VPNs. Nevertheless, those who do not wish to download VPN use the Pinngle app. Pinngle is an instant messaging app that allows Saudi residents to voice/video call among Pinngle users around the world for free. The app is developed to work in countries such as Saudi Arabia where VoIP is blocked. Besides working without VPN, the features of Pinngle app are very distinctive. For instance, Pinngle app protects the user’s information by using end-to-end encryption of data, saves battery’s life up to 40% and offers virtual numbers.
Also published on Medium.