here’s been a string of positive changes that Saudi Arabia has implemented over the past few months with many music to the ears of its regional neighbours, too.
Last year, we got a taste of what Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has in store for his Vision 2030 mission with several historic announcements coming out of the Kingdom including the lifting of the ban on women driving, allowing women into sports stadiums and the repealing of the ban on cinemas allowing them to re-open this year.
1. The lifting of the ban on women driving
Perhaps the biggest change to shape Saudi Arabia so far was the lifting of the driving ban on women after a decades-long wait. Although it was announced last year, the change officially happened last month and women now have the power to hold a license, be a Careem driver and operate trucks and motorcycles under the new laws. The change sparked celebrations acrossthe globe that even saw Saudi Arabian woman Aseel Al-Hamad drive a Formula One race car to celebrate the occasion.
2. You can now watch a film at the cinema
Also announced late last year, the government of Saudi Arabia had shared the news that it would allow cinemas to be built within the country, finally lifting the ban that had existed since the 1980s. This year, the first cinema opening after 35 years since the last operation, opened its doors to our brothers and sisters in the Kingdom. The first movie screened was Black Panther (which smashed box office records on its opening weekend alone). Then, just two weeks later, the country welcomed movie lovers to its second cinema in an entertainment complex at Riyadh Park.
3. Job opportunities
Following the positive news that women can now drive in Saudi Arabia, there has been a slew of job openings available to women, too. For the first time ever, women in the Kingdom can get behind the wheel and become Careem drivers (more than 1,000 women have already applied). Also, Saudi Arabia’s passport authority decided to hire women for the first time, and the change has also given women the opportunity to become soldiers in Saudi Arabia, as well as notaries.
4. The film industry is going global
Shortly before Saudi Arabia officially opened its cinemas to the public, the country announced that it will be bringing its film industry to an international level this year, and they certainly did so in the best way. For the first time ever, the Kingdom participated in the Cannes Film Festival and we can only expect that the country will continue to garner support within the entertainment industry.
5. Fashion focus
Late last year the Arab Fashion Council (AFC) revealed that it would open an office in Riyadh and this was shortly followed by the announcement of a new partnership with the British Fashion Council (BFC). Courtesy of the new partnership, the country hosted the first ever Arab Fashion Week and welcomed Roberto Cavalli and Jean Paul Gaultier to the schedule.
Now, take a look at Fashion Forward Dubai’s pop-up store that opened in Saudi Arabia earlier this year.