Saudi Arabia opens its doors to new partnerships in international entertainment this week, as US giant Six Flags reveals its plans to partner with giga-project Qiddiya for the first and largest theme park in the Kingdom
Six Flags Qiddiya will be located just outside Riyadh, and is set to open its doors at the beginning of 2023.
The huge project will cover 79 acres and feature 28 rides and attractions across six “lands”- including some rides that will set world records.
“The partnership is a co-operative agreement between the Qiddiya folks and Six flags entertainment company. We’ll have a franchise agreement where we’ll lend our brand- our international brand- and our expertise of operating theme parks to the Qiddiya team. And we’re gonna instil some of the learning that we know that we’ve done with our 26 theme parks in North America right here in the Kingdom. So there’s a licensing relationship there’s a design and development partnership as well as a management services agreement that we’re working very closely with the team at Qiddiya on to execute one of the best parks ever in the region here,” said David McKillips, Six Flags President of International Park Operations.
Saudi Arabia is among the leading G20 countries in international tourism, and Saudis spend over 20 billion dollars abroad every year on leisure and entertainment. The government wants to reduce this “revenue leakage” by providing top class leisure experiences within the Kingdom.
Diversification of the economy is central to Saudi’s Vision 2030, and the Qiddiya/Six Flags partnership is the incarnation of this. The Qiddiya project will create 25,000 new jobs by 2030 and contribute to a 2% decline in Riyadh’s unemployment.
Projects like Six Flags Qiddiya will contribute significantly to the breath-taking social changes taking place in Saudi Arabia. The project will generate many professional opportunities in a country where 67% of the population is under 35. Saudi students will be able to study hospitality management at the Universtity of Central Florida under an international scholarship programme.
The project’s organisational structure has been developed to allow maximum flexibility for potential investment. With over 30 million people in the Kingdom, it represents an interesting investment proposal. This week’s announcement shows the ambition of Six Flags to be among the first to take advantage of the “first move” opportunity represented by this whole new sector in Saudi Arabia.
(Source: Arabianbusiness.com YouTube channel)