In the desert outside Riyadh, Michael Reininger, the CEO of Qiddiya, is creating the world’s largest entertainment city. Along with Neom, the Red Sea Project and Amaala, it is one of four ‘giga projects’ allied to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.
A 103 sq km development, bigger than Walt Disney World, Qiddiya will comprise a collection of theme parks, sporting venues, cultural attractions and events. These will include a Six Flags theme park, speed park and water park.
Built to a masterplan by the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), it will be surrounded by a further 231 sq km natural, undeveloped area. According to a recent report, not even the coronavirus has slowed construction and the first phase will open in 2023.
What is remarkable it not just the scope of what is proposed, but also that Saudi Arabia is building this and the giga-projects almost from a standstill. Until last year, out of home entertainment options in the Kingdom were restricted. “This is a business proposition that is based on the purest supply and demand imbalance,” Reininger told Arabian Business magazine.