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Saudi Arabia has over 11,000 open spaces for cultural events

Saudi Arabia has over 11,000 open spaces for cultural events

DAMMAM There are a total of 11,623 open spaces for cultural activities in Saudi Arabia, according to a recent report.

These include urban centers, festival grounds, children’s playgrounds, public parks, and municipal squares, in addition to 48 popular and heritage markets. These markets are an example of the public squares available for holding local cultural festivals, and these represent an urban environment with which members of the community of all segments can interact, Al-Watan newspaper reported.

The report showed that the number of tourist trips for domestic tourists, which include cultural activities, reached unprecedented levels, with a total of 10.5 million trips in the first 10 months of 2021. This figure recorded a growth rate of 24 percent compared to 2019.

There has been a growing tendency on the part of domestic tourists to participate in cultural activities, with an increase of 18-20 percent. In another sense, one among each five tourist trips includes participation in one or more cultural activities. This is a general positive indicator of the growing interest in cultural activities, which means an increase in demand for the cultural show mainly related to tourism, such as attendance and participation in festivals and cultural events, and visiting heritage and archaeological sites. The cultural presence in open spaces is not limited to cultural events, but takes diverse forms, including mobile libraries, literature platforms, and display of murals and various forms of arts.

The report also highlighted the diversity of the cultural shows, and its availability and ease of access for the unaffluent members of the society. This shows that the cultural practices are no longer an elite affair, and that the cultural field is not limited to certain age groups with a prominence for elders and far from catering to the interests of the younger generation.

There was discrepancy in the frequency of cultural activities between various segments of society. This was evident from the fact that the participation of individuals belonging to higher economic levels frequently increases in cultural activities compared to their counterparts from the lower economic strata.

According to the data of the Cultural Participation Survey for 2021, the vast majority of the survey participants stated that they participate in the nearest cultural event being held in a public space no more than 40 minutes away from a car drive, and that only a quarter of the participants can reach these events in open public places in less than 20 minutes.

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Drivers allowed to not race if uncomfortable with Saudi Arabia GP events

Drivers allowed to not race if uncomfortable with Saudi Arabia GP events

Several F1 teams have allowed their drivers to not compete in the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix if they do not wish to race under the current circumstances.

During Free Practice Two on Friday, an attack on an Aramco facility some 12km from the circuit prompted an immediate meeting between the FIA, F1, and the teams.

With smoke rising in the distance, the teams and drivers released a statement saying that they unanimously agreed to plow on ahead with the weekend’s running.

However, all 20 drivers stayed for a lengthy meeting that went on until the early hours of the morning.

They ultimately decided to continue racing, even though there were some concerns raised amongst senior drivers.

Flames visible in the night sky. Saudi Arabia March 2022.

Now, the teams have agreed that should a driver feel uncomfortable in competing around the Jeddah Corniche Circuit this weekend, then they would be free to not race.

“You cannot force someone to drive who doesn’t want to drive, or is uncomfortable to drive,” said Mike Krack, Aston Martin boss, in the Saudi Arabia GP team principals’ press conference on Saturday.

“We were not in that situation but if we were, we would respect the opinion or concerns of the driver and try to talk, try to understand, to find an agreement.

“Ultimately, you need to respect what they want to do.”

Meanwhile, Mattia Binotto, Ferrari team principal, who has agreed that there is “no right reason” to stop racing this weekend, has revealed that there have been no requests from the Scuderia’s personnel.

“No one has left, no one is willing to leave,” said Binotto. “But just to say, before coming, we as Ferrari certainly tried to get our own information, making sure that everything was secure.

“We got in contact with the local authorities, with the Italian consulate here just to be sure that everything was under control, and our people know that. They know we are taking care, that we are sensible.

“Finally, if someone left, as for the drivers, it is important to listen, to come back to them and try to explain and make sure that any decision is a proper one.

“But I am pretty sure that with the way things are going, all the people in the team trust us, they are relaxed and feel really safe.”

McLaren’s team principal Andrea Seidl echoed Binotto’s thoughts adding that the Woking-based squad are working together as a team throughout the weekend.


He said: “The same on my side. No one from the team has approached me so far wanting to leave.

“It was very important to make sure the team is well informed of all the information that we have got as well.

“That is what we did and that is how we go now into the rest of the weekend as a team.”