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Six Flags in Saudi Arabia


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Hi everyone.

 

So most of you are probably not aware of this, but yes, there is a new SF park that has been announced. There are a bunch of articles talking about this, too. Here's one from NBC News:

 

Six Flags to Open Theme Parks in Saudi Arabia

by REUTERS

 

Six Flags plans to expand to Saudi Arabia, its chief financial officer told Saudi-owned Arabiya TV on Monday, bringing roller coasters and bumper cars to the ultra-conservative kingdom.

 

"We're very honored to be provided with an opportunity to enter into a partnership to bring Six Flags to the kingdom ... Our parks can provide the entertainment to which Saudis aspire," Chief Financial Officer John Duffy said. His comments were dubbed into Arabic.

 

Duffy did not elaborate on the terms of the partnership.

 

His announcement followed a meeting between company CEO James Reid-Anderson and deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is visiting the United States to promote a reform plan to wean the kingdom away from oil revenue.

 

The powerful royal, who also heads the country's economic council, hopes the so-called "Vision 2030" initiative will jump start the private sector, provide jobs for a growing population and improve Saudis' cloistered lifestyles.

 

"We consider culture and entertainment indispensable to our quality of life. We are well aware that the cultural and entertainment opportunities currently available do not reflect the rising aspirations of our citizens and residents," the 2030 plan said in April.

 

Salman's reform plans flirt with social change in a country where women are barred from driving, cinemas are banned and women's sports are discouraged as promoting sin.

 

It is unclear whether the theme park company will tailor its rides, which include water slides, to the social codes of a country where public spaces are gender segregated and patrolled by state-sponsored Islamic morality enforcers.

 

Six Flags operates approximately 20 theme and water parks in North America and signed an agreement with a private Ho Chi Minh City based company in March to open two parks in Vietnam.

 

Both Abu Dhabi and Dubai are encouraging the development of theme parks to help boost foreign tourist arrivals as oil prices slump, causing an economic slowdown in the region.

 

Well, I for one, even though I freaking live here, am totally against this. And this is coming from a coaster enthusiast.

 

For starters, the amusement park industry here is intensely packed. The sheer number of FECs in malls is ridiculously high, so kids/families are pretty much taken. And they're not very small, either.

 

As for teens, there's already three parks which cater to them (or should I say, us) (Also, I mentioned them in my "Theme Parks in Saudi Arabia" post) but each one has their own problems.

 

Speaking from personal experience, these parks are all for "Families only", which would suggest that you're only allowed to go with your family, but what that really means, is that guys on their own aren't allowed in. Not even if you're, say, alone with your dad, they won't let you in, period.

 

They have a "Women's night" once a week, but not the other way around. And that is mainly due to the fact that there have been a lot of reported incidents of vandalism when they have tried having a male-only night once a week. And this is really the only reason why I'm only hitting up theme parks once every two months-ish, instead of once every two weeks.

 

I know Six Flags is an American company and all, but I'm sure the government will apply this to SFJ, too. And that is what would ultimately destroy it, because the teenager demographic is their target audience, and these regulations would just alienate them from being able to go. And even if it means they have to drag their families with them to go, then it'll only be for one time EVER, since the average Saudi family would only go to a theme park together really rarely.

 

The worst part is, that if this turns out to be a flop, then that will impact the rest of the investments for the other parks in the franchise, which means less good years like 2015 and more bad years like 2017.

 

Finally, I just hope that they end up scrapping the project, since it'll probably do little to no good.

 

I'm sorry if this feels more like an essay than a forum post, but this is kinda serious, so....

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Hi everyone.

 

So most of you are probably not aware of this, but yes, there is a new SF park that has been announced. There are a bunch of articles talking about this, too. Here's one from NBC News:

 

Six Flags to Open Theme Parks in Saudi Arabia

by REUTERS

 

Six Flags plans to expand to Saudi Arabia, its chief financial officer told Saudi-owned Arabiya TV on Monday, bringing roller coasters and bumper cars to the ultra-conservative kingdom.

 

"We're very honored to be provided with an opportunity to enter into a partnership to bring Six Flags to the kingdom ... Our parks can provide the entertainment to which Saudis aspire," Chief Financial Officer John Duffy said. His comments were dubbed into Arabic.

 

Duffy did not elaborate on the terms of the partnership.

 

His announcement followed a meeting between company CEO James Reid-Anderson and deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is visiting the United States to promote a reform plan to wean the kingdom away from oil revenue.

 

The powerful royal, who also heads the country's economic council, hopes the so-called "Vision 2030" initiative will jump start the private sector, provide jobs for a growing population and improve Saudis' cloistered lifestyles.

 

"We consider culture and entertainment indispensable to our quality of life. We are well aware that the cultural and entertainment opportunities currently available do not reflect the rising aspirations of our citizens and residents," the 2030 plan said in April.

 

Salman's reform plans flirt with social change in a country where women are barred from driving, cinemas are banned and women's sports are discouraged as promoting sin.

 

It is unclear whether the theme park company will tailor its rides, which include water slides, to the social codes of a country where public spaces are gender segregated and patrolled by state-sponsored Islamic morality enforcers.

 

Six Flags operates approximately 20 theme and water parks in North America and signed an agreement with a private Ho Chi Minh City based company in March to open two parks in Vietnam.

 

Both Abu Dhabi and Dubai are encouraging the development of theme parks to help boost foreign tourist arrivals as oil prices slump, causing an economic slowdown in the region.

 

Well, I for one, even though I freaking live here, am totally against this. And this is coming from a coaster enthusiast.

 

For starters, the amusement park industry here is intensely packed. The sheer number of FECs in malls is ridiculously high, so kids/families are pretty much taken. And they're not very small, either.

 

As for teens, there's already three parks which cater to them (or should I say, us) (Also, I mentioned them in my "Theme Parks in Saudi Arabia" post) but each one has their own problems.

 

Speaking from personal experience, these parks are all for "Families only", which would suggest that you're only allowed to go with your family, but what that really means, is that guys on their own aren't allowed in. Not even if you're, say, alone with your dad, they won't let you in, period.

 

They have a "Women's night" once a week, but not the other way around. And that is mainly due to the fact that there have been a lot of reported incidents of vandalism when they have tried having a male-only night once a week. And this is really the only reason why I'm only hitting up theme parks once every two months-ish, instead of once every two weeks.

 

I know Six Flags is an American company and all, but I'm sure the government will apply this to SFJ, too. And that is what would ultimately destroy it, because the teenager demographic is their target audience, and these regulations would just alienate them from being able to go. And even if it means they have to drag their families with them to go, then it'll only be for one time EVER, since the average Saudi family would only go to a theme park together really rarely.

 

The worst part is, that if this turns out to be a flop, then that will impact the rest of the investments for the other parks in the franchise, which means less good years like 2015 and more bad years like 2017.

 

Finally, I just hope that they end up scrapping the project, since it'll probably do little to no good.

 

I'm sorry if this feels more like an essay than a forum post, but this is kinda serious, so....

 

 

Haven't read up on the deal yet. But, the point about a flop affecting other investments for SF, may not be true. The other non North American SF parks under construction are really license deals. They use SF name and pay consulting, admin. management fees, etc.. The money for 4.5Billion per China parks is not SF Corporate's money being invested.

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I wish we'd get another Mid-West Six Flags :/

 

There really isn't a need for SF to add a Midwest park. There really isn't a worthy market, that is untapped IMO to justify the expense. A new park is very expensive to start and their aren't any parks worth aquiring in the midwest. To have a successful park you need it near a major city metro or make it so incredible for people to make the trek to it. They have parks in Chicago, Stl, the 2 biggest midwest markets. It would be foolish to try to go into Ohio, with CP and KI,they would not spend the money to build a ride lineup to compete with either b/c it would cost to much and not be a good ROI. People in Michigan have many smaller park choices and a major city like Detroit is just 2 hours from CP. Kansas City has WOF and isn't killing it with virtually no competition, One might gather there isn't a major demand beyond what WOF provides. SF could actually make Stl better, but maybe they haven't pumped money into it b/c they don't see the ROI in the market.

Edited by eugenecd
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we have to wait until they open it , Don't be so pessimistic !!! Noah , it’s good for them to expand to overseas and good for their benefit and also good for our economic.

people spend billions of SAR out of KSA for visiting Disneyland, Six flags , SeaWorld and etc. wouldn’t be good if we bring them over here?

wouldn’t be good if we create thousands of jobs out of those parks?

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we have to wait until they open it , Don't be so pessimistic !!! Noah , it’s good for them to expand to overseas and good for their benefit and also good for our economic.

people spend billions of SAR out of KSA for visiting Disneyland, Six flags , SeaWorld and etc. wouldn’t be good if we bring them over here?

wouldn’t be good if we create thousands of jobs out of those parks?

 

Sorry for the late reply, but I just need to have a word with you.

 

First off, I think that if they were to expand overseas, then they'd do it somewhere that is NOT here.

 

As for people traveling overseas for riding coasters, they do it because they know that, sadly, the parks here are not as good as the elite parks found in, say, Dubai. But do you really think that just because the park is called "Six Flags" and it's in Jeddah, it'll actually make a difference? A little, but eventually, it'll be another park no one goes to since they've pretty much consumed it, and even if they add stratospheric new rides every now and then, only 20% of those people who will have gone when it first opened will be bothered to go back. If anything they might as well get MAD, because they'll think they're "ripping off" the Six Flags parks in America. (trust me. When it comes to parks, the Saudi GP is in many ways so much worse than others)

 

Why would this be? Because people here just don't give a crap. I see this with my friends all the time. They go to a park, go to it ONCE, and then never speak its name ever again.

 

And this isn't just limited to KSA. Look at Rome. They've opened up two good amusement parks, CCW and RML, and whilst they were popular at first, now that people have gone to them, their sales are going down (according to fellow Italian Enthusiasts). Here in Saudi it'll be the exact same thing, just worse. Look at Atallah Happy Land park. That park pretty much reopened in 2008, had a somewhat decent surge in popularity, added the tallest half pipe coaster in the world in 2012 (the Surfrider, which I'm sure you never even heard of, even if you're pretty much living here (I'm guessing. You spoke almost as if you lived here.)), and now it's pretty much a bankruptcy waiting to happen.

 

As for the jobs point, the only people benefitting from that to a large extent will be the foreign Indo-Pakistani/Filipino workers who will have more job opportunity.

 

But either way, as I'm noticing more and more, any large-scale investment they do here is the physical equivalent of taking a pile of money, applying crude oil to it and setting it on fire. (Looking at YOU, Kingdom Tower 2.0!) No wonder we're having an economic recession.

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But either way, as I'm noticing more and more, any large-scale investment they do here is the physical equivalent of taking a pile of money, applying crude oil to it and setting it on fire. (Looking at YOU, Kingdom Tower 2.0!) No wonder we're having an economic recession.

 

Let's go back a bit: Saudi Arabia is not open to tourism from any nation. It is easier by far to go to North Korea or Cuba than Saudi Arabia for an American or European tourist. It is also, how should we say this, not particularly inviting?

 

Obviously then, this is geared towards a locals market. Why a theme park? Because what else are they going to build? Businesses? Saudis don't work. Here's a fun paper from the Gulf Research Center:

 

http://gulfmigration.eu/media/pubs/exno/GLMM_EN_2014_01.pdf

 

In 2013, 28.4% of Saudi nationals under the age of 30 were unemployed in the nation of Saudi Arabia, including over 60% unemployment among women (who also cannot legally drive). They are given subsidies to make up for the lack of employment, much of which has been handed to foreign nationals because Saudis are either incapable of doing the work physically or mentally, or because they find it beneath them (e.g. service sector positions). There is a desire to change these figures, but it requires a large scale generational shift in attitudes towards existence. So again, why theme parks? Because theme parks are entertainment for unemployed masses living off of a gigantic system of national welfare. Theoretically, the money then gets reinvested in the Saudi economy rather than going elsewhere.

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But either way, as I'm noticing more and more, any large-scale investment they do here is the physical equivalent of taking a pile of money, applying crude oil to it and setting it on fire. (Looking at YOU, Kingdom Tower 2.0!) No wonder we're having an economic recession.

 

Let's go back a bit: Saudi Arabia is not open to tourism from any nation. It is easier by far to go to North Korea or Cuba than Saudi Arabia for an American or European tourist. It is also, how should we say this, not particularly inviting?

 

Obviously then, this is geared towards a locals market. Why a theme park? Because what else are they going to build? Businesses? Saudis don't work. Here's a fun paper from the Gulf Research Center:

 

http://gulfmigration.eu/media/pubs/exno/GLMM_EN_2014_01.pdf

 

In 2013, 28.4% of Saudi nationals under the age of 30 were unemployed in the nation of Saudi Arabia, including over 60% unemployment among women (who also cannot legally drive). They are given subsidies to make up for the lack of employment, much of which has been handed to foreign nationals because Saudis are either incapable of doing the work physically or mentally, or because they find it beneath them (e.g. service sector positions). There is a desire to change these figures, but it requires a large scale generational shift in attitudes towards existence. So again, why theme parks? Because theme parks are entertainment for unemployed masses living off of a gigantic system of national welfare. Theoretically, the money then gets reinvested in the Saudi economy rather than going elsewhere.

 

That was a very good read. I honestly was not aware of the facts you threw out. Thanks for sharing!

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I wish we'd get another Mid-West Six Flags :/

 

How about our 2 current midwest SF parks, but with excellent operations!? Think what it would be like if St. Louis and Great America ran like a well-oiled machine (like Cedar Point, for example).

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I wish we'd get another Mid-West Six Flags :/

 

How about our 2 current midwest SF parks, but with excellent operations!? Think what it would be like if St. Louis and Great America ran like a well-oiled machine (like Cedar Point, for example excluding opening day and Halloweekends).

 

 

Fixed

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