Monday, June 20, 2016

Six Flags Looking to Expand into Saudi Arabia

Multiple news sources today are reporting that Six Flags Entertainment is fostering a partnership that will lead to an investment in branded theme parks in Saudi Arabia. 

The company has been on a recent push to increase their revenues from foreign licensing deals, having already announced them for parks in Dubai, China and Vietnam.  The information released on the possible Saudi Arabia project is very brief, with some sources making it sound like Six Flags will invest their funds - however I would wager that the park would simply be another licensing arrangement.

Saudi Arabia's economy has long been dependent on oil, but in recent years they've begun to push for "economic diversification," including increased tourism to bring new visitors in and also keep residents from traveling to other countries.

The location is an interesting one as Saudi Arabia is known for gender separation in public places, and morality police on the streets.  This could make for interesting theme park dynamics - will there be a roller coaster for males only, or dark rides only departing with female passengers?  I'm not sure how a water park could possible work, either, despite the high temperatures making it a great fit.  Park designers, usually a duty for Six Flags under the deals, will certainly have their work cut out for them!