Six Flags eyes South Asian market for expansion, still hopeful about Dubai

Six Flags plans to open a series of record-breaking rides at its theme park planned in Saudi Arabia
Six Flags eyes South Asian market for expansion, still hopeful about Dubai
Six Flags' theme park at Qiddiya, Saudi Arabia’s entertainment city, will include twelve record-breaking attractions when it opens to the public in 2023, including the world’s longest, tallest and fastest roller coaster and the world’s tallest drop-tower ride.
By Shane McGinley
Sun 01 Sep 2019 09:05 AM

American theme park company Six Flags, which last week unveiled plans for the park it plans to open in Saudi Arabia in 2023, is also looking to expand into the Asian market, a senior executive responsible for its international operations told Arabian Business.

Last week, Six Flags announced its theme park at Qiddiya, Saudi Arabia’s entertainment city, will include twelve record-breaking attractions when it opens to the public in 2023, including the world’s longest, tallest and fastest roller coaster and the world’s tallest drop-tower ride.

The first Six Flags theme park set to open in the Middle East, Six Flags CEO Jim Reid-Anderson said on a February 14 conference call with investors, that it could be the first many in the region.

“We feel very confident about the opening of the park in Riyadh, in Saudi Arabia and our ability to continue to work with our partner there to not only build this park but potentially other parks,” Reid-Anderson was quoted as saying.

Six Flags Qiddiya is set to open in four years, but in an interview with Arabian Business last week, David McKillips, who manages development of the company’s parks outside the United States, played down the likelihood of announcing any more parks in Saudi Arabia or the wider Middle Eastern region in the short-term.

“Well we always entertain conversations but there's nobody at this point that I'd be willing to disclose,” McKillips said in a phone interview.

Dubai plans

In April it was announced that plans to build a Six Flags attraction at Dubai Parks and Resorts were not going ahead, but McKillips said he was still hopeful that one day the company would open a park in the emirate.

“Our news in Dubai is public… I'll give you my personal feeling that Dubai is a terrific market. We’ll wait and see if there's another opportunity in Dubai, but right now all of our efforts are focused in the Middle East right here in Riyadh,” he said.

Six Flags Entertainment Corporation is the world’s largest regional theme park company with $1.5 billion in revenue and 26 parks across the United States, Mexico and Canada. For 58 years, Six Flags has entertained millions of families with world-class coasters, themed rides, thrilling waterparks and unique attractions. 

Founded in 1961, Six Flags has 26 parks across the United States, Mexico and Canada, with 12 under development in China and Saudi Arabia.

When asked which global locations Six Flags sees as the biggest emerging markets going forward, McKillips said he is actively seeking partners in Asia to open more parks.

“We spent a lot of time talking to potential partners in Southeast Asia and I'm very keen on developing a theme park or theme parks in that particular area. We spent a lot of time in Southeast Asia. They've got a wonderful growing middle class which fits very nicely and they're underserved in terms of entertainment options. So that's really where we're focused. As well as Japan and Korea are two other markets that would be of great interest for us as well,” he said.

For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.