>> It's the year of unprecedented change for the conservative kingdom. And it's that conservative image that Saudi Arabia is trying to shake off. Women are getting behind the wheel, joining men at shows, and the cinema ban has been lifted, 2018 promises to be an entertaining year for Saudis.
The state run body had now launched it's performance calendar for the year featuring more than 5,000 shows, festivals, and concerts, double the number last year. And women at this time are likely to be in the audience as the rules around gender segregation eases off. One aspect that risks causing a backlash for villages conservatives, but it mostly comes down to money.
The state is hoping to lure in visitors and keep tourist dollars at home. Aiming to capture out of the quarter of the $20 billion currently being spent overseas every year by Saudis looking to be entertained. The message from the state this year appears to be let me entertain you.
Saudis are also being promised $64 billion worth of new infrastructure, including an opera house to be completed around 2022, that also means a thousands of new jobs. All part of the plan to diversify the economy away from oil and provide new jobs for young Saudis who now have a lot more options on ways to spend their hard earned cash after hours.