SeaWorld said to be in talks to enter Saudi Arabia

Deputy crown prince meets executives at marine mammal park during US visit
SeaWorld said to be in talks to enter Saudi Arabia
Killer whale Tilikum appears during its performance in its show Believe at Sea World in Orlando, Florida. (Getty Images)
By Staff writer
Thu 23 Jun 2016 01:41 PM

US aqua park SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is reportedly considering an expansion into Saudi Arabia.

The entertainment chain’s CEO Joel Manby and other executives met with Saudi’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in San Francisco this week and discussed options to bring the park to the kingdom, local media reported.

Manby was quoted as saying: “Saudi Arabia has beautiful coastlines filled with marine life and it is in need for a tourism push. We are waiting for the opportunity to go there.”

He said his company was eyeing opportunities to expand global operations in tourism and was looking for new partners, including Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, increasing the entertainment and cultural offer is a key plank of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 economic diversification plan.

It states that the country is planning to provide “land suitable for cultural and entertainment projects. Talented writers, authors and directors will be supported,” according to Saudi Gazette.

SeaWorld has entertainment parks in around 12 destinations across the US, including in Orlando, Florida, and San Diego, California.

It received three million visitors in the first quarter of 2016, according to its latest financial results issued in May, and generated $220 million of revenues over the same period.

The parks showcase marine and other wildlife, and also feature water-based rides and other family attractions.

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