Saudi Arabia’s population is very young. As part of Vision 2030, social and economic reform processes have been initiated since 2016. The objectives of Saudi economic policy are economic diversification and increasing value creation in the country. This includes, among other things: a reformation of the educational system, the promotion of SMEs, the increased integration of women in the labor market, the doubling of the number of Umrah pilgrims and the development of the tourism and cultural sector as well as mining. Since mid-2019, it has been possible to apply for a tourist visa online to enter Saudi Arabia easily.
As part of Vision 2030, megaprojects are currently being implemented in the entertainment industry (Qiddiya), tourism (Red Sea Project, Amaala) and smart city (Neom).
With the opening of the country and the growing diversification of the Saudi Arabian economy, trade fairs are gaining in importance. In 2021, the Big 5, an international trade fair for the construction industry, will take place in Riyadh (the main location is in Dubai). Another highlight is the Saudi Build, which takes place once a year.
There are also relevant trade fairs in the food sector. The Saudi HORECA was scheduled to take place in Riyadh for the tenth time in 2020, but was canceled due to COVID 19. In 2019, there were 370 exhibitors from 41 countries and 36,500 visitors at the fair. The Saudi Foodex is dedicated to the food and beverage industry and in 2019, there were about 8,500 visitors and 230 exhibitors from 50 countries. The “International Coffee & Chocolate Exhibition” is expected to take place in December 2020 for the fourth time. In 2019, there were 64,500 Saudi and 10,400 international visitors and so it became one of the leading trade fairs and events for the growing “specialty coffee” scene and the coffee and chocolate industry in the Middle East.
In recent years, there have been more international forums in promising sectors such as transportation, circular economy, sustainability and tourism.