Posted Wednesday, March 5, 2008 12:18 PM | Contributed by Jeff
Theme park developer Six Flags Inc. said Tuesday it will partner with Dubai-based developer Tatweer to build theme parks across the Arab world. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Six Flags said it will work with Tatweer to create a number of new concepts in the region, including Six Flags theme and water parks, branded restaurants, hotels and retail outlets.
Dubai is really turning out to be quite the destination. I'm surprised with all of the changes Six Flags is making that they would get involved in a new park.I can't wait for more details. Let's hope they don't screw this up. I've had relatives out in Dubai for a while...I guess I'm gonna have plenty of other reasons to head over there in the next couple of years.
Don't assume "Arab" equals "Taliban." And I think the "rest of the world hates everything American" idea has been overblown. There are many middle-easterners who are progressive and as consumptive as westerners. A good portion of those hotel rooms and resort bookings are going to be people from other Arab and middle-east countries.
My other thought is that if you're looking for someone experienced in "planning and design," is Six Flags the first name that comes to mind?
Culture and religion has nothing to do with it. Dubai is home 1.4 million people. How do you expect enough business to come out of the locals to drive this tourist economy shaping up to be bigger than that of Orlando?
Jeff, your first post said the "target audience isn't Arab culture, obviously." That isn't the same as saying the target isn't the locals. I don't think any park (or entertainment venue) relies entirely on its locals, whether it be Orlando, Dubai, Pigeon Forge, or Sandusky. That's why it's called tourism.
I try to avoid politics on the park sites but I do have to wonder. Neighbors to Dubai include: Saudia Arabia, Oman, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The are, literally, on the Persian Gulf. If I had to draw a target over the Middle East/Persian Gulf Region, Dubai would nearly be the bullseye.
So, where is all of the confidence on the part of the banking community, and these international companies investing there, that the place is secure and won't go to heck if, as most suggest, we pull out of Iraq? And, wouldn't the presence of American companies...even "fun" companies like Sea World and Six Flags...be a source of ire for those who hate what we represent?
Frankly, with the oil in Saudia Arabia and the investment in Dubai I think it is not overreaching to say we are going to be in the Persian Gulf region forever, at least in some form or another.
Again, I apologize for the political slant and, I'm not really taking sides. It is just fascinating how our own little piece of joy...amusement parks...is being thrust on the international stage.