RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s annual tourist attraction, Riyadh Season, has surpassed its target of 12 million visitors before reaching the halfway point, according to a top official.

Turki Al-Alshikh, chairman of the General Entertainment Authority, revealed in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that the event achieved the goal within 60 days.

The carnival, among the world’s largest entertainment gatherings, showcasing the essence of Saudi Arabia from Najdi heritage to present dynamism will run until April 2024.

The official said that the 12-million visitors goal, initially set for the entire event, was reached midway.

Through its dynamic offerings, Riyadh Season has evolved into the region’s largest entertainment spectacle, captivating enthusiasts with diverse experiences in fashion, technology, electronic games, and visual arts.

Visitors explored different zones at the festival, each with a unique style, offering new experiences.

Additionally, a variety of local and international cafes and restaurants added to the enjoyment.

It has become a significant event in the Kingdom, laying the foundation for introducing innovative concepts in the entertainment world.

The festival has positioned the Saudi capital as a prime destination for those seeking diverse global entertainment, including events, restaurants, and various elements, attracting individuals in search of enjoyment and unique entertainment options.

In September, Al-Alshikh predicted that the regional celebration of its kind would host over 10 million visitors.

“We expect 10 million to 12 million visitors this year, and we target more than a million tourists from outside the Kingdom,” he said during a press briefing at that time.

“The Riyadh Season, in its fourth edition, has achieved 40 percent of its targeted revenue through sponsorship and some large deals even before it’s started,” the chairman stated.

Debuted in 2019, the inaugural edition attracted over 7 million visitors.

In 2022, attendance surged to over 15 million, with 1 million tourists from 125 countries.

The festival generated 150,000 direct and indirect jobs, with the participation of 1,255 companies.   

In a video shared on his X account in September, Al-Alshikh unveiled the launch of the 2023 edition, featuring a ceremony organized by top global event planners.

The video introduced the event’s new branding, with Al-Alshikh highlighting the range of sports, music, gaming, and film experiences visitors can expect.   

The grand activities are scheduled at Boulevard Hall, a multipurpose building capable of accommodating over 40,000 visitors simultaneously for various events.

Around 60 percent of these programs will feature “new experiences,” starting with the world of “Barbie,” reviving the brand’s history, as revealed in the video.

Riyadh is hosting the “Disney castle” for its centennial celebration, marking the first time in the Middle East. The event will feature captivating shows inspired by renowned animated Disney movies.

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