Saudi Arabia has announced plans to develop an entertainment city in the Al-Qidya area of the Riyadh.

The project, which will focus on cultural, sports and entertainment offerings, will cover an area of 334 square kilometres, including a safari site.

The project was announced by the kingdom’s deputy crown prince Mohamed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud and will be led by the Public Investment Fund (PIF).

Foundation for the project will be laid in the beginning of 2018 and first phase of the city will be completed by 2022.

The project will also include a Six Flags-branded theme park.

In 2016 MEED reported that Dubai Parks and Resorts, which holds the exclusive rights to develop and operate Six Flags-branded theme parks in all GCC countries, was prepared to waive its rights in Saudi Arabia.

Plans to develop theme parks in the kingdom are part of the government’s plans to diversify the economy and boost tourism. Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 said it will look to capitalise on the government’s reserves of real estate and allocate prime areas within cities for educational institutions, and retail and entertainment centres. Large areas along coasts will be dedicated to tourist projects and appropriate lands will be allocated for industrial schemes.

The kingdom is also looking to double the number of religious tourists it receives.

Region zones in on entertainment

The grand opening of Dubai Parks & Resorts, the region’s biggest integrated theme park complex

The grand opening of Dubai Parks & Resorts, the region’s biggest integrated theme park complex

The grand opening of Dubai Parks & Resorts, the region’s biggest integrated theme park complex

Already home to the world’s tallest tower, the world’s longest driverless railway and the world’s busiest international airport, Dubai claimed yet another record in October 2016, when it unveiled the tallest Lego structure ever built.

At 17 metres, the miniature Burj Khalifa, whose 439,000 plastic bricks weigh more than one tonne and took 5,000 hours to put together, is the centrepiece of the recently opened theme park Legoland Dubai, one of three amusement parks launched in 2016 by DXB Entertainments at its Dubai Parks & Resorts complex. Read more