Six Flags is continuing its international expansion, this time with plans to open its first theme park in Saudi Arabia.
The new Six Flags park, slated for a 2022 opening, will be part of the planned Qiddiya entertainment complex, to built near the Saudi capital of Riyadh, a city of seven million residents.
This would be Six Flags' fourth development outside North America. In China, Six Flags Zhejiang is under construction for a planned opening next year, while another complex is under development in Chongqing for a 2020 opening. In the United Arab Emirates, a Six Flags park is planned for the next phase of the Dubai Parks and Resorts development, opening next year.
That would make the Qiddiya park the second Six Flags in the Middle East. Qiddiya is planned to be "iconic entertainment destination of the Kingdom," according to Six Flags' press release. The complex will include six clusters: Theme Parks; Wheels and Wings; Scenic and Animal Encounters; Water and Snow; Sports; Events, Culture and Education. Groundbreaking is planned for later this year.
"Our goal is to create an exciting one-of-a-kind destination that will draw visitors from throughout Saudi Arabia to experience record-breaking roller coasters, innovative rides and attractions, as well as the sporting and cultural facilities that Qiddiya will offer. By partnering with a global leader, we know that we are going to deliver something exceptional," Qiddiya Chief Executive Michael Reininger said in a statement.
If that names sounds familiar to readers in Central Florida, that's because Reininger is the former Disney executive who went on to head the development of the Brightline train project. At Disney, Reininger was involved with the development of the Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club and several moderate-level Disney World hotels, as well as the abandoned Disney's America project.
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been visiting the United States, leading to several announcements of new entertainment and cultural ventures in the Kingdom. Saudi Arabia recently ended its 35-year ban on movie theaters, opening the nation of more than 32 million up to Hollywood, Bollywood and international entertainment companies.
However, the prince's meetings with industry leaders in Southern California drew some protests over the Kingdom's restrictive laws, which — relative to this post — can create, uh, design challenges for anyone bringing Western-style hospitality businesses into Saudi Arabia.
Stay tuned to see how this plays out.Tweet
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