Qiddiya Investment Company, the developer of multibillion-dollar entertainment destinations in Riyadh, awarded a contract worth 2.8 billion Saudi riyals ($750 million) for the construction of the kingdom’s first and the region’s largest water theme park.
The contract was awarded to a joint venture of Alec Saudi Arabia Engineering and Contracting and El Seif Engineering Contracting, QIC said.
The park will sit on 22.5 hectares of land and will be home to 22 rides and attractions — including nine that will be world firsts. It will span nine zones, inspired by animals that inhabit the areas around Qiddiya.
“Qiddiya Water Theme Park will be a year-round immersive family entertainment destination, the first of its kind and offering experiences that have never before been offered in Saudi,” said QIC managing director Abdullah Al Dawood.
The theme park, which will also host water sport competitions, is designed to minimise water use through recycling and smart technology in line with QIC’s sustainability goals, the company said.
Some of the rides have been designed to use 75 per cent less water compared with the more conventional offerings at other water parks. The park will capture rainwater and will use it for irrigation at the destination after treatment.
The Qiddiya project, which is being funded by the Public Investment Fund and the kingdom's government, includes a Six Flags theme park and other entertainment activities. It will also feature a golf course and an arts complex.
It is being built on a 334-square-kilometre site. In December, QIC began the construction of Six Flags Qiddiya after awarding a contract valued at 3.7bn riyals.
Qiddiya, which is being built in the outskirts of the Riyadh, is one of several mega-projects being developed in the kingdom as part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 programme, the overarching blueprint to overhaul the kingdom’s economy and reduce its dependence on hydrocarbon revenue.
Other projects include Neom, a $500bn futuristic business and industrial zone extending into Egypt and Jordan, and the Red Sea tourism project, which includes a nature reserve, coral reefs and heritage sites on about 50 islands.
Tourism is one of the key pillars of Saudi Arabia’s transformation agenda, and the kingdom plans to invest more than $1 trillion in the sector over the next 10 years, Ahmed Al Khateeb, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Tourism and chairman of the Tourism Development Fund, said in October.
The fund aims to hasten the development of the kingdom’s tourism industry through private sector investments.
It has enabled projects with an investment value of around 6bn riyals, including more than 4bn riyals in private-sector investment, which will add about 3,500 hotel rooms and 21,000 jobs over the next three years.