Saudi Arabia is undergoing a significant cultural shift in parallel with the economic diversification of the Kingdom. Digital transformation is paving the way for creative innovation and new job creation in key sectors such as technology and tourism that will further drive diversification.
Saudi Arabia has been establishing itself as an entrepreneurial hub and can leverage on its tech-savvy young nationals as it continues to open up new opportunities.
According to the General Authority for Statistics, over two-thirds of Saudi Arabia’s population is under the age of 35. Upskilling the Saudi workforce can forge a dynamic and fruitful job market for the younger generation. Not only will digitalization and innovation support the economic growth of the country, it will also create new opportunities for young talent in creative, cutting-edge spaces.
This will release hither to untapped potential for young people to engage in nascent sectors and fast-growing digital markets being supported by the government in the realisation of its Vision 2030.
The pandemic has fast-tracked the process of digital transformation as more sectors have had to rely on online resources to survive and engage virtually with customers and users. This has prompted a cultural shift not only in Saudi, but also around the world, as it increasingly embraces immersive solutions.
The realization of Saudi Vision 2030’s ambitious program to bolster the Kingdom’s economy will entail significant change and precipitate transformative developments especially in tourism, arts and culture. Just earlier this year, Saudi’s Public Investment Fund launched a new venture, which will invest $3 billion in tourism and infrastructure.
As tourists seek more engaging, impactful experiences to compensate for missed holidays as a result of the pandemic, this will present a new opportunity for hosting and launching spectacular experiences, attracting visitors who are eager to experience Saudi Arabia’s diverse landscape and scenery, and will encourage young creatives to pioneer the sector as it continues to grow and develop.
Creating immersive experiences can expedite this trend and attract tourists to the Kingdom as well as showcase the very best of what Saudi Arabia has to offer. Innovative technology can be used to deliver extraordinary experiences, which can act as an example of Saudi excellence. Behind the design of disruptive tech solutions and delivering world-class events there can be a team of young, national talent, which turns spaces – augmented or physical – into meaningful, bespoke multi-sensory journeys.
This pioneering approach changes the way the public engages with destinations at home and abroad. This approach was successfully employed in the “Into the Kingdom” project, an immersive global roadshow experience that started at the Saudi Cultural Week in Moscow and followed Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman on his tour of the UK, US and France, offering audiences an authentic glimpse into Saudi culture and heritage.
The use of cutting-edge technologies can also be exported around the world as leading examples of Saudi innovation and expansion into non-oil sectors.
Having a finger on the pulse of Saudi Arabia’s youth culture will be instrumental in harnessing the creative potential of young Saudi talent. An example of this was the MDL Beast concert in Riyadh, which was the first, record-breaking electronic music concert of its kind in the history of the Kingdom and drew unprecedented global media attention as well as the participation of 400,000 attendees.
An increasing collaboration with key stakeholders and institutions will also be important for the execution of large-scale ground-breaking immersive experiences.
Cultural events like these which employ sophisticated technology will generate more interest from both domestic and foreign tourists as well as investors, creating new opportunities and diversity for the economy in line with the government’s objectives for Vision 2030.
— The writer is CEO of Midwam