Year-In Review: Every Pivotal Moment That Occurred In Saudi Arabia In 2018


Two thousand eighteen has been an excellent year for Saudi, no doubt most would even say it’s been a remarkable journey filled with progress and reform.

The time has come, however, to welcome a new year which only means better and more for the Kingdom.

With the Vision 2030’s plans to reduce Saudi’s dependence on oil, already well underway- it’s no shocker what else we’ll see in the coming few years.

But before we do that, let’s have a look back at just why 2018 was such a FAB year for the land of the endless stretched sands, high-rise towers and peace…

In 2018, Saudi women finally got to drive

This would have to be the news that broke not just Saudi but the world. At the beginning of 2018, it was suddenly announced that the ban on women driving would be lifted.

Just a few short months after, on June 7, the Kingdom made history by officially approving that women drive.

Licenses were given, driving training schools took place, and more job opportunities opened up giving women the ability to earn a living through driving.

In 2018, cinemas opened up in parts of the Kingdom

An American-owned company, AMC, set up the country’s very first public cinema after a 30-year ban.

Black Panther was chosen as the first film to ever screen since the years-long halt, and today, Saudi is looking at around 40,000 cinema screens by the year 2030.

It has empowered many local creatives in the field of media, like screenwriters, directors and actors. Saudi even took part at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, which is a pretttty huge deal- it is the first time the nation has taken part in a prestigious film fare.

In 2018, Saudi opened itself up to tourism

Just when you thought this year couldn’t possibly have ended in more surprises, Saudi comes out with e-visas to the Formula-E race. The event hosted many travellers from outside the Kingdom who got to enjoy the race, performances by David Guetta, Enrique Iglesias and more- all thanks to a simple click online.

Hollywood celebs visited Riyadh and took part in the glorious moment of being able to step foot in Saudi, hassle-free. Before, visas to non-GCC residents were usually only given for business or religious purposes- such as performing one’s Hajj.

But just recently, it’s also been introduced that citizens of Schengen visa countries will soon be able to also visit Saudi, visa-free.

In 2018, the Kingdom’s sports teams’ showed great game at local and international tournaments

The General Sports Authority, headed by Turki Al Shaikh, meant that in 2018 the Saudi football team managed to take part at the FIFA World Cup.

Regardless of that outcome, the Saudis really took part in showcasing pride for their country. Many had even travelled to Moscow just to cheer on the national football team.

Other than that, the WWE events that rolled out were also a HUGE hit. Two events took place in two major cities, Riyadh and Jeddah.

And of course, the Formula E race that brought together thousands of tourists, locals and residents as well as paving the way for female racers in the region.

In 2018, SO many celebs performed in Saudi all thanks to the General Entertainment Authority’s work

Nelly, Egyptian singer Sherine and even Ian Somerhalder were just among the endless list of celebs who came to Saudi Arabia in 2018 as part of the General Entertainment Authority’s work to bring in more to the Kingdom’s entertainment sector by 2030.

A new concert hall has even been set up in the famous Al-Ula, now a prospective touristic site, where Andrea Bocelli and Yanni are set to perform by February.

Can’t even begin to explain how much there is in store, the first ever Cirque du Soleil also came to Riyadh for a tailored performance befitting the Saudi audience.

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