With the entertainment industry gaining momentum and evolving as a contributor to the Kingdom’s economic growth, this vital sector is gaining a favorable position within the ambitious Saudi Vision 2030. Through growing investments, expanding entertainment options, new landmarks, and world-class events and activities, the industry is well on its way to achieving the desired economic impact, generating thousands of job opportunities, and positioning the Kingdom as a global entertainment hub.
Through its mandate as the sector developer and organizer, the General Entertainment Authority (GEA) has taken great strides towards achieving these goals, since its inception, through a modern strategy aligned with international best practices in the industry. Among these are the proactive steps GEA has taken to streamline the procedures for organizing entertainment events and associated activities, making them available to investors through simplified steps, and periodically obtaining investors’ feedback and enacting the relevant reforms.
As part of its efforts, GEA has identified eight investment activities that fall in line with the International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities (ISIC) to streamline business procedures through enabling investors to issue commercial registers via their classification code.
In parallel, GEA issues three types of authorizations: licenses, permits, and accreditation certificates. Licenses are granted for permanent activities in facilities such as theme parks, entertainment centers, and entertainment event venues. Permits, on the other hand, are issued for temporary entertainment activities such as live shows in restaurants, cafes or theaters. Meanwhile, accreditation certificates are issued for establishments specialized in crowd management in entertainment events, as well as events ticket sales.
For theme parks, entertainment centers and entertainment event venues to acquire a license, GEA stipulates having a commercial register stating the intended activity, and submitting a relevant operational plan.
Licenses for operating entertainment venues and for artists and talent management are issued within less than 3 minutes. The requirements for temporary permits for entertainment events and live shows in restaurants and cafes vary with the type of permit and its location. To issue such a permit, GEA stipulates submitting an operational plan that ensures maintaining security and safety standards and guarantees a quality experience for visitors.
To further support the sector, GEA provides special approvals for specialized activities, namely crowd management and ticket sales. Enterprises wishing to engage in these activities must obtain a certificate of accreditation from GEA, which requires the submission of the commercial register stating the activity and the payment of the fee indicated by GEA. Additionally, if the applicant is not the owner of the enterprise, an authorization signed by the Chamber of Commerce or a copy of the official authorization document is required, along with the ID of the representative. GEA then reviews the application to ensure its compliance with all the requirements and issues the certificate within three working days.