VOX Cinemas quenching Saudi Arabia’s post-pandemic film thirst

VOX Cinemas quenching Saudi Arabia’s post-pandemic film thirst

JEDDAH (RAHNUMA):: Months after lockdown, Saudis have resumed entertainment activities, with venues such as VOX Cinemas promising a safe and secure experience amid brave plans for expansion.

Sunday evening marked the Jeddah opening of VOX Cinemas’ 11th movie theater in Saudi Arabia, further consolidating its ambitious expansion plans across the Kingdom in spite of the pandemic, which placed the country under lockdown for more than three months.

Speaking to Arab News, Mohamed Al-Hashemi, country head of Majid Al-Futtaim Ventures in Saudi Arabia, said that visitor numbers are increasing, and “the main aim nowadays is that visitors come back to cinema with confidence that the place they are visiting is clean and safe.”

He added that since the easing of the lockdown, there are promising indications of growing visitor numbers. Al-Hashemi said the company is the biggest cinema house operator in Saudi Arabia in regard to the number of halls, screens and visitors.

“After each show, we insist on social distancing and have the surfaces cleaned and the seats sterilized. In fact, we take all the precautionary health measures to ensure our visitors have a safe and comfortable cinema experience. This has caused a spending upsurge, but that was a necessity,” he said.

Al-Hashemi said that although cinemas were affected by the pandemic, the effects were not limited to the entertainment sector.

“Like all other companies in the market, the pandemic has affected us, but with the government we are committed to all measures. One hand cannot clap. We have a role to play along with the roles the government is playing to confront the pandemic. Luckily, we bypassed the lockdown stage. Our goal now is to regain people’s confidence in these entertainment and cinema locations. With time, this trust will increase more and more,” he said.

With Saudi’s “thirst” for more cinema experiences, Majid Al-Futtaim’s VOX Cinemas is keen to expand its presence in the Kingdom’s entertainment market, which means reaching cinema fans no matter where they are in Saudi Arabia.

Al-Hashemi said that the more cinemas that are opened, the more job opportunities are created.
“We bring people who are looking for a source of income. We train them, qualify them and then offer them job opportunities. It is a give-and-take equation,” he added.

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