×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Saudi Arabia to Launch Huge ‘Entertainment City’ Project

Six Flags theme park being developed

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is set to lay the foundation stone on Saturday of a massive landmark entertainment hub southwest of Riyadh that will comprise high-end theme parks, motor sport facilities, and a safari park, all of which in hopes of attracting 17 million annual visitors by 2030.

The Qiddiya entertainment city, located 25 miles from the Saudi capital, will be on a 129 square mile site, which is almost the size of Las Vegas. It is one of the so-called “giga projects” financed by Saudi’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) in line with the Vision 2030 plan announced by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to wean the economy off oil and create jobs for young Saudis.

This plan has the stated objective of increasing household spending on entertainment from 2.9% to 6.0% of gross domestic product, according to press materials. 

Former Disney and Florida East Coast Industries executive Michael Reininger has been appointed Qiddiya CEO.

King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz and the crown prince, who is also chairman of PIF, are expected to attend the Qiddiya ceremony which had been scheduled for Wednesday. It was postponed due to bad weather conditions on the scenic site which is characterized by a mix of desert, highlands, unique rock formations and striking cliffs. It’s about an hour drive from King Khalid International Airport.

Qiddiya is envisioned as a gigantic entertainment hub with facilities divided into six main components: amusement parks; sports tracks, auto and motorcycle racing areas on desert and asphalt tracks; indoor ski slopes and water parks; natural attractions; and cultural and heritage events. The project includes resorts, hotels, restaurants and residential units.

The inauguration ceremony on Saturday will mark the official launch of the project’s first phase of development planned to be completed in 2022.

U.S. theme parks group Six Flags earlier this month announced an agreement with PIF to develop and design a branded theme park within the multibillion Qiddiya project, details of which are being kept under wraps.

In a statement to official Saudi news agency SPA on Tuesday the Secretary General of the Foundation Council for the Qiddiya project, Fahd bin Abdullah Tounsi, underlined that roughly two-thirds of Saudi’s population of 32 million are under the age of 35 and noted that “there is a great need…to provide them with entertainment.”

He went on to point out that the project’s goal is to recapture about $30 billion currently spent annually by Saudi’s on tourism and entertainment outside the kingdom by stimulating Saudi’s to have more fun at home

Qiddiya is expected to create 57,000 jobs in Saudi by the end of 2030.

The inaugural ceremony for the ambitious entertainment city entertainment comes after the lifting last December of a 35-year religion-related ban on movie theaters which has led to a groundbreaking first post-ban screening on April 18 of Disney’s “Black Panther” in a new AMC-branded theatre in Riyadh.

In February the kingdom’s General Entertainment Authority (GEA) announced plans to pump $64 billion into the Saudi entertainment sector over the next decade.

 

More Biz

  • Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith

    Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith Dies at 78

    Walt Disney Archives founder Dave Smith, the historian who spent 40 years cataloging and preserving the company’s legacy of entertainment and innovation, died Friday in Burbank, Calif. He was 78. Smith served as Disney’s chief archivist from 1970 to 2010. He was named a Disney Legend in 2007 and served as a consultant to the [...]

  • Colin Kaepernick Kneel

    Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid Reach Settlement With NFL

    Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid, two football players who alleged the National Football League colluded to oust them from the game after they started kneeling in protest of racial inequality during the playing of the national anthem, have reached a settlement in the matter, according to a statement from the sports organization and lawyers representing [...]

  • R. Kelly

    R. Kelly Could Be in ‘Big Trouble’ Over Alleged New Sex Tape, Attorney Says

    Strong allegations of sexual misconduct have followed R. Kelly for 25 years, but the singer has always managed to slip free. Yet reports that a videotape of him sexually assaulting an underage girl, combined with the outcry surrounding the Lifetime documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” means that public sentiment, at the very least, is definitely not [...]

  • Christian Bale as Dick Cheney in

    New Media Residuals and Feature Films Contribute to Spike in Writers' Pay

    The outlook for members of the Writers Guild of America has brightened — even amid pervasive uncertainty in the entertainment industry. According to the most recent report to WGA West members, earnings surged 2.8% to $1.41 billion in 2017, thanks mostly to gains in feature films and new-media residuals. Total covered earnings for WGA West [...]

  • Joe Dante Gremlins

    Hollywood Execs Seek Licensing Deals at the New York Toy Fair

    On Feb. 16 more than 30,000 studio executives, buyers and toy company reps will gather in Manhattan for the annual Toy Fair New York, all vying for market share and trying to snag the latest hot trend in a fast-changing industry. Those working the film side of the business will focus much of their attention [...]

  • Lady Gaga Bradley Cooper A Star

    Universal Music Group Fuels 11.3% Rise in Vivendi's 2018 Revenues

    Vivendi’s revenues were up 11.3% to €13.93 billion ($15.7 billion) in 2018, powered by Universal Music Group, which delivered such hits as the “A Star Is Born” soundtrack and Drake’s new album. UMG’s revenues climbed by 10% to €6 billion ($6.8 billion) compared to 2017. On top of the “A Star Is Born” soundtrack, the [...]

  • The Blacklist 100th Episode

    'The Blacklist' EP Sues for Wrongful Termination

    A former executive producer of the NBC show “The Blacklist” has filed suit against Sony, alleging he was fired after being wrongfully blamed for a workplace scuffle. Michael Watkins is a veteran TV director and cinematographer. He was an executive producer for several seasons of “The Blacklist,” the NBC crime show starring James Spader. According [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content