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.
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.