Once a staunch, conservative monarchy, Saudi Arabia is evolving under the stewardship of Mohammed Bin Salman. The Crown Prince isn’t the nation’s leader (yet), but he is the driving force behind modern-day Saudi Arabia. When he does ascend the throne, the alterations in the kingdom’s attitudes are expected to be huge.
Like all changes, Saudi’s new approach to opening its borders isn’t only good for the country, but healthy for the region as the entire Middle East stands to benefit. Here are just some of the ways the governments and their people could be positively impacted in the future.
The Shop Window Effect
Saudi Vision 2030 is an extravagant plan by the Saudi Arabian government to revolutionize the country by 2030. To do it, the country will invest as much as $800 billion to reach the target. That figure is the minimum that King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman have committed to, yet it might increase in the future.
Saudi Vision 2030 is an extravagant plan by the Saudi Arabian government to revolutionize the country by 2030.
What’s impressive about the goal is that the money will be plowed into sectors that should benefit Saudi citizens more than anyone. Yes, the tourists will enjoy them too, but they should create a foundation for everyday life in the kingdom. For instance, everything from new transport infrastructure to housing and job opportunities will occur as a result. For citizens and residents, it could mean a better standard of living.
As always, neighboring countries will be watching and taking notice. If the strategy is successful, they’ll undoubtedly copy it, leading to economic transformation throughout the entire Middle East. Saudi Arabia might be the first domino to fall, causing the rest to follow suit.
Modernizing Cultural Attitudes
As the birth rate slows, the demographic in the Middle East is becoming increasingly younger. And, as the millennials and Generation Z begin to voice their opinions, the role of outside influences grows stronger. Saudi Arabia is a prime example as Vision 2030 specifically includes resources for areas that aren’t stereotypically Arabian, giving residents the ability to do things people can in the US and Europe.
For example, movie theaters have been built in the past couple of years to represent the cultural shift in the demographic. Music concerts are also being held with more regularity. At the top of the list are sporting contests, events the monarchy is desperate to secure, such as the potential mouthwatering heavyweight clash between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury. The change is even possible to see in industries that have traditionally been frowned upon, like gambling, thanks to the way that attitudes are softening.
While it’s largely prohibited in some countries, places such as Lebanon and Morocco are taking a more liberal approach, forcing the rest of the Middle East and North Africa to take note. Indeed, it’s already happening in some respects since the steps they take to make websites inaccessible are mild. As online gambling reviews for Arabic players point out, the demand is high as a broad range of markets are available for a variety of sports. The best sites have a range of payment methods to make it as convenient as possible for consumers to deposit and withdraw funds, as well as promotions and bonuses to utilize, and these are both covered diligently in reviews. As a result of a more easy-going attitude towards cultural aspects, that are being exacerbated by an invigorated tourism industry, online betting is commonplace. The same is true of driving and not wearing traditional dress.
Diversifying Investment Assets
The Middle East is known for its natural reserves, particularly concerning oil. Therefore, it’s not shocking that the nation took the obvious approach by selling barrels to the west. The result is that Saudi’s economic plan has focused on its oil supplies, which wasn’t an issue a decade ago. But things are changing rapidly around the world.
Today, the reliance on fossil fuels has become a hot topic, with most global nations attempting to cut their carbon footprints. To do this, they are investing in eco-friendly technology, such as electric vehicles, causing oil-rich economies to feel the nerves. After all, countries like Saudi must create a long-term plan to replace their oil-centric economies.
Thankfully, the tourism sector is the answer because it’s a lucrative and evergreen revenue source. To put it into perspective, ever since Saudi Arabia opened its borders to foreigners, its dependency on oil has plummeted. By 2028, tourism will account for $486 billion of GDP, a figure that was $238 billion in 2018 and $197 billion in 2012. The strategy is already proven to work, as highlighted by the city of Dubai, so it’s an adaptable approach for several Middle Eastern economies since they have a similar make-up to Saudi Arabia’s.
With Saudi Arabia setting the tone, there’s a healthy chance that the rest of the Middle East will pick up the slack.