New Saudi authority to develop theme park industry

Council of Ministers approves the appointment of the board of the General Entertainment Authority

A file picture of Six Flags.
A file picture of Six Flags.

A new Saudi authority charged with developing, promoting, regulating and funding infrastructure for an entertainment industry in the Gulf kingdom has appointed its board.

The Council of Ministers of the Government of Saudi Arabia has approved the appointment of the board of the General Entertainment Authority, a statement said.

The authority is a government-sanctioned body borne out of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 program and will partner with both government bodies and the private sector to grow the infant entertainment sector in the country.

The appointment comes just weeks after Six Flags Entertainment Corp said its planned expansion into Saudi Arabia will probably include three parks, with the first to open in 2020 or 2021.

The parks, which each cost between $300 and $500 million to build, will likely be owned by the Saudi government.

The first park is tentatively planned for Riyadh, Saudi Arabia's capital city. Others may follow in Jeddah and at a resort elsewhere on the western Red Sea coast.

General Entertainment Authority chairman Ahmed Aqeel AlKhateeb said: “This is a significant milestone in the development of the Saudi General Entertainment Authority. We are particularly delighted to welcome international experts who will further help us in our aim of both developing and investing into the burgeoning Saudi entertainment industry.

"We have made progress in recent months and there will be much more delivery over the next year."

He added: “In line with the goals set out by Vision 2030, we will strive to provide the Saudi people with quality entertainment choices, building and supporting an entertainment sector for everyone in Saudi Arabia.

"With our board now formally in place, the next step is to move ahead with strategies that help nurture entertainment in all its forms, whilst also seeking to safeguard our precious cultural heritage.”

Amr AlMadani, the founder and former CEO of Mishkat Interactive Center for Atomic and Renewable Energy, has also been appointed CEO.

AlMadani will be responsible for day-to-day operations and for establishing the General Entertainment Authority, the statement said, adding that the board will meet quarterly.

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