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RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Thursday revealed the urban plan and global branding for Qiddiya City, a massive entertainment project under construction on the outskirts of Riyadh.

The crown prince, who chairs the board of directors of the Qiddiya Investment Company, said the city aims to quickly establish itself as the foremost global destination for entertainment, sports and culture, which will benefit the Kingdom by helping to boost its economic growth, international standing and strategic position, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

It is also designed to improve quality of life, the prince added, and to position Riyadh as one of the top 10 economies in the world.

The investment in Qiddiya is a cornerstone of Saudi Vision 2030, he said, which aims to develop and diversify the Kingdom’s economy, reducing the country’s reliance on oil revenues and creating thousands of job opportunities for Saudi youth.

Qiddiya, which is one of the major projects overseen by the Public Investment Fund, is envisioned as an essential source of support for the Kingdom’s ambitious tourism and economic goals, in addition to improving the quality of life for residents and visitors. It is expected to help attract local, regional and international investors, which will in turn provide support to Riyadh.

Work on the Qiddiya project, in the form of about SR10 billion ($2.7 billion) invested in construction projects, began in 2019.

It was revealed that the branding for Qiddiya will adopt as its main motif the concept of “play,” based on decades of research showing this to be vital for cognitive development, emotional expression, social skills, creativity and physical health.

Studies have also shown the positive effects of recreational activities on society, including their ability to help overcome differences and bridge divisions between individuals, and enhance empathy and social cohesion.

Qiddiya City, described as a one-of-a-kind destination that promises to provide endless fun and excitement for residents and visitors through unrivaled entertainment, sports events and activities, culture and exceptional urban living, will eventually include 600,000 residents and 60,000 buildings in an area covering 360 square kilometers.

It is expected to create more than 325,000 jobs, generate a nominal gross domestic product of SR135 billion a year, and attract 48 million visitors annually.

Located about 40 minutes from the center of Riyadh, overlooking the stunning scenery of the Tuwaiq mountains, Qiddiya City’s attractions will include a gaming and esports district, a motorsports racetrack, golf courses, a massive water park, and the Six Flags Qiddiya theme park. It will also be home to a sports stadium that includes the world’s largest Olympic museum. Its first facilities are expected to open within two years.

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