“ Saudi Arabia To Make An Entertainment City That Will Be Bigger Than The Maldives ”, announced Destination KSA
The BBC announced on 8 April 2017 in its Middle East section that :
Saudi Arabia has unveiled plans for an entertainment city on the edge of Riyadh which will be 50 times the size of Gibraltar once complete.
The 334 sq km (129 sq mile) attraction – about the same as Las Vegas – will offer cultural, sporting and entertainment activities – including a Six Flags park and a safari park.
The announcement boasts it will be the first of its kind in the world.
Building will begin early next year and the first stage finished by 2022.
It forms part of a wider master plan.
Vision 2030, announced by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman a year ago, aims to diversify the economy and reduce the kingdom’s reliance on oil, through a series of projects.
The entertainment city – about a fifth of the area of Riyadh in size – is the latest to be announced.
Authorities say the hope is it will not only attract visitors but “achieve a healthy and harmonious life, and provide more entertainment, joy and fun” for those who live in the capital.
However, it is unclear how something like a Six Flags will work in a country where women and men are largely segregated. Up until now, theme parks in Saudi Arabia have been largely aimed at children.
Like the BBC’s, most observers seem to think that it is something of a “contradiction in terms” that Saudi Arabia should feel the need to plan the building of the country’s and perhaps the world’s largest entertainment, cultural and sports city.
According to the Saudi Press Agency, Prince Mohammad Bin Sultan claimed that this city will become a prominent cultural landmark and an important centre for meeting the recreational, cultural and social needs of the future generations in the kingdom.
More concretely, Six Flags of the US, already present in Dubai, would also be included in this new entertainment city at $707 million as one of its main attractions theme park operator.