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Lucy Frazer says UK poised to support Saudi Arabia ‘as you look to transform your economy’ 

Culture secretary Lucy Frazer in Saudi Arabia

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Lucy Frazer, the SE Cambs MP and culture, media, and sports secretary, is one of five UK ministers heading a 450 strong British delegation to Saudi Arabia to boost trade and cultural ties. “Yours is a Kingdom that is on the move and we, as a Government and as a country, want to move with you,” she said in a speech at the GREAT Futures event in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Great Futures is focused on the co-operation and partnerships between British companies and institutions, and their Saudi counterparts.

“We recognise that few places on earth have changed more in the past decade,” said Ms Frazer.

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“Our two countries have always found common ground in spheres such as international development and security cooperation, but it is clear today – in 2024 – that there are huge new opportunities available to us both.

“Days like this really underscore the immense cultural and creative ambitions of the Kingdom in its Vision 2030.

“That Vision is bold; it is ambitious, and I am here today because I believe Britain can play a role in that story.

“Because, like Saudi Arabia, we too are unapologetically ambitious in capitalising on our strengths to grow our economy and improve lives for people in Britain and around the world.”

She said that Saudi Arabia was working to broaden and diversify their cultural offering.

MP and culture secretary Lucy Frazer in Saudi Arabia and tells hosts ‘we admire your young and vibrant people. We value your spirit of enterprise and ambition’

MP and culture secretary Lucy Frazer in Saudi Arabia and tells hosts ‘we admire your young and vibrant people. We value your spirit of enterprise and ambition’

“And I know the level of ambition is sky high, backing 100 new films, commissioning 26 new museums, increasing the contribution of the Creative Industries GDP to 3%, generating $20 billion in revenue and creating over 100,000 jobs – and all by 2030,” she said.

“To put things into perspective, the GVA of our Creative Industries was £124.6bn in 2022 alone.

“These industries account for 2.4 million jobs in Britain, and they grew faster than our whole economy between 2021 and 2022.

“And obviously much of the credit for that phenomenal growth belongs to the extraordinary talent we have at our disposal.

“But it is also the case that we, as a Government, have consistently recognised the power of these industries and sought to maximise its true potential, at every turn.”

Ms Frazer said few countries were better placed than Britain “to help support the Kingdom as you look to transform your economy. 

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“Building out and developing your creative industries, cementing your status as a major player in sports and expanding your reputation as a tourist destination.

“And I know that these kinds of collaborations are already off the ground in some areas, like Esports – with British Esports and the Saudi Esports Federation committing last year to greater cooperation on education and cultural exchange.

MP and culture secretary Lucy Frazer in Saudi Arabia and tells hosts ‘we admire your young and vibrant people. We value your spirit of enterprise and ambition’

MP and culture secretary Lucy Frazer in Saudi Arabia and tells hosts ‘we admire your young and vibrant people. We value your spirit of enterprise and ambition’

“And are seeing the beginnings of cultural and creative exchange, with the world-renowned British composer and impresario, Andrew Lloyd Webber, recently taking Phantom of the Opera in Riyadh”.

The culture secretary said that in 2022 the UK welcomed over 200,000 visitors from the Kingdom and Visit Britain’s latest forecast predicts 240,000 visits from Saudi Arabia this year.

“And this is another area where you are investing in the fundamentals – building up the tourism infrastructure needed to make Saudi Arabia a magnet for visitors,” she said.

“Doing what is needed to increase the number of annual travellers to the Kingdom from 14 million to 60 million in the next five years.

“This is an area where Britain has deep expertise, for example, in vocational training, and I know that members of our delegation will be well placed to speak to this during some of the planned sessions.

“Yours is a Kingdom with a huge amount of heritage and I have no doubt that countless people will look to take the chance to come and see and experience that heritage.

“To support you in that journey, I can confirm that Historic England and the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Culture are actively exploring a new partnership to cooperate in the field of cultural heritage.”

Ms Frazer said that “as Government ministers and as senior leaders of industries, it is in our gift to welcome in a new era of investment, partnership and growth between our two countries”.

She concluded: “I want to finish by paying tribute to our hosts Saudi Arabia who are among our oldest friends in this region.

“We admire your young and vibrant people. We value your spirit of enterprise and ambition.

“So, I’d like to thank you all, once again, for being here and for being part of the Futures programme.

“By being part of what we are doing here this week, each of you will be writing your own contribution to a new chapter in British-Saudi relations. One defined by security and prosperity.

“By cooperation and collaboration. By the exchange of knowledge, ideas, and investment.”

 

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