Riyadh: Saudi Arabia said it will begin licencing cinemas for the first time in more than 35 years as part of the kingdom’s plan to revive the entertainment industry and overhaul the economy.

The first multiplexes are expected to open in March 2018, the ministry of culture and information said in a statement on Monday.

Saudi Arabia’s Islamic clerical establishment and conservative Saudis have typically frowned upon non-religious forms of entertainment such as cinema and music.

The government said there will be more than 300 cinemas with 2,000 screens across the kingdom by 2030. Bloomberg