By: Nadine Elshawatfy

Saudi finally allows cinemas to open after 35 years of very limited cultural expression and so much oppression towards all sorts of art forms. Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture and Information has announced that commercial cinemas will finally be allowed to operate in the Kingdom as of early 2018.

It all started with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s “Vision 2030″ reform plan, that is meant to relax some laws and develop the economy beyond its traditional oil-fueled base. With that being said, King Salman’s decree back in September that allowed women to drive was the start of the altering in strict laws and the latest of these alters is the announcement of re-opening cinema theatres after their ban in early 1980’s!

The Board of the General Commission for Audiovisual Media (GCAM), which is chaired by the Minister of Culture and Information Awwad Alawwad, announced on Monday that they allowed the authority to grant licenses to cinemas and commercial providers. “As the industry regulator, the General Commission for Audiovisual Media has started the process for licensing cinemas in the Kingdom. We expect the first cinemas to open in March 2018.” Alawwad stated in a release statement, adding that “Opening cinemas will act as a catalyst for economic growth and diversification.”

By 2030, the government expects the opening of 300 cinemas which will definitely contribute to Saudi’s economy and make room for 30,000 job opportunities; not to mention a little bit more freedom for cultural expression!