RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the official launch of the Events Investment Fund (EIF) on Tuesday, a fund that aims to develop a sustainable infrastructure for the culture, tourism, entertainment, and sports sectors across the Kingdom.
Arab News interviewed its chief executive officer, Naif Al-Rasheed.
What is the Events Investment Fund and its mission?
Established by Royal Decree No. (A/91) in 2019, EIF aims to elevate the events industry in the Kingdom and build cutting-edge sustainable venues to host world-class events in the culture, entertainment, tourism and sports sectors.
The fund will be capitalized to develop 35 unique world class venues across the Kingdom, to facilitate the successful delivery for the ambitious national events calendar. EIF will further raise capital by providing high-return opportunities and facilitating fruitful partnerships with the private sector.
In addition to its role in realizing the economic goals of Vision 2030, EIF will be at the forefront of driving wide-reaching social benefits by enriching the quality of life of citizens, residents and visitors.
EIF’s venues will include indoor arenas, art galleries, theaters and conference centers, horse-racing tracks and motor racing tracks.
What is the immediate focus for EIF?
In a nutshell? Well, we came together to position the industry of the Kingdom on the world stage. EIF will support the development of new cultural, tourism, entertainment and sports venues across different cities in the Kingdom.
How is EIF aligned with the Kingdom’s Sustainability agenda within the events industry?
Aligned with the Kingdom’s sustainability agenda and the vision of our leaders, the fund is committed to upholding the highest environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards. EIF’s strategy is focused on three main pillars, which include enhancing its environment, invigorating societies, and maintaining strong governance.
This will be amplified across our operations, venues and strategies.
What is the opportunity for the local community?
Our vision – aligned with that of Vision 2030 – is to enhance quality of life and enrich the lives of Saudi citizens, residents, and visitors alike, we aim to become the Kingdom’s events infrastructure powerhouse for the entertainment, tourism, culture and sports sector. To do that, EIF will support the development of cultural, tourism, entertainment and sports venues across the Kingdom.
Today, EIF will develop world class venues across multiple cities in the Kingdom and as a result of this new ecosystem, created by EIF, around 160 thousand direct and indirect jobs will be created.
Our goal is to create a growing long-term sustainable infrastructure events industry in the Kingdom, and I’m sure that our local investors will share the same goals, that will benefit the glowing future of the Kingdom.
What will be the key outcomes of EIF by the end of the decade?
I will tell you that EIF will develop world class assets across multiple cities in the Kingdom, which includes the development of new cultural, tourism, entertainment and sports venues. With bigger venues, world class services, greater organization, and meticulous foresight, there is no limit to how much the Saudi events sector will grow and build unique experience for the citizens, residents and visitors alike, we see a bright and promising future for our beloved kingdom.
Adding to everything I have mentioned earlier, EIF will contribute 28 billion SAR to the Saudi economy by 2045.
What areas of Vision 2030 does it support?
A lot, and I’m quite sure all this will develop over the next years, today, I can tell you that EIF is contributing to Vision 2030’s aim of a vibrant society enjoyed by all through the development of new cultural, tourism, entertainment, and sports venues.
As the Kingdom aims to attract 100 million domestic and international visits a year by 2030 making it one of the world’s top 5 most visited destinations, our vision is to enhance quality of life and enrich the lives of Saudi citizens, residents, and visitors alike
Allow me to zoom out and shed the light on two important factors here, the industry and the people perspective, from an industry point of view EIF will support the development of new cultural, tourism, entertainment, and sports venues. Tourism is a huge opportunity and EIF plays an important role in this ecosystem.
From a people perspective, that means enhancing quality of life and enriching the lives of Saudi citizens, residents, and visitors alike
What is the opportunity for the local community?
As EIF is establishing a unique and new ecosystem, it will in return open new job opportunities, enhance the industry and drive the success of the Kingdom’s outstanding offerings when comes to the quality of lives of Saudi citizens, residents, and visitors alike.
As a result of this new ecosystem, EIF will support in shaping and building the careers of over 160 thousand job seekers directly and indirectly.