Saudi Arabia has unveiled plans for a 1.6 million square foot floating theme park on an oil rig with roller coasters, extreme sports and water slides across interconnected platforms in its latest extravagant tourism promotion.
The colossal project, called “The Rig”, will include three hotels and 11 restaurants, swimming pools, a ferris wheel and rides high above the glittering Persian Gulf.
This month, digital renderings of the ambitious engineering feat were released, showing a large pier for cruise ship access, a concert hall, gondolas between the platforms over the sea and an underwater restaurant.
It is funded by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PIF), which recently acquired Newcastle United for £ 300m in what critics say is an attempt by “lingerie” to shift focus from Riyadh’s dire human rights record.
Riyadh wants to make Saudi Arabia a vacation paradise for Westerners, following in the footsteps of glittering destinations like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and is investing heavily in its tourism industry to diversify its oil-dependent economy.
The colossal project, called “The Rig,” will include three hotels and 11 restaurants, swimming pools, a ferris wheel and rides high above the glittering Persian Gulf
Digital renderings of the ambitious feat of engineering were released this month, showing gondolas and zip lines running between platforms over the sea
Another model of the Saudi project shows an underwater project where guests can eat while looking out over the azure waters of the gulf
The Saudi project comprises three hotels, which are spread over three platforms and can be reached by boat and helicopter
A picture of a man on a jet ski released by the PIF, one of many attractions hopefully visitors to The Rig. will lure
A mock-up shows swimming pools on the platforms, a gondola to carry people over the floating attraction, and giant slides for the more adventurous
“This project is a unique tourist attraction that is expected to attract tourists from all over the world,” said a PIF statement.
“The Rig will feature a range of tourist attractions including three hotels, world-class restaurants, helipads and a range of adventurous activities including extreme sports.”
The statement added that the project will contribute to Saudi Arabia’s broader plans to “achieve economic diversification”.
Neither a completion date nor costs for The Rig were disclosed.
While millions of Muslim pilgrims travel to Saudi Arabia each year to visit Mecca, the country’s harsh laws, especially regarding women, make it less attractive to many Westerners.
However, the country is hoping to reinvent itself as an alluring prospect and begin to reap the lucrative fruits that its neighbors such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Oman have enjoyed from international tourism.
Saudi Arabia aims to attract 100 million tourists a year by 2030.
Bungee jumping will be one of the many attractions on offer on the converted oil rig
The massive structure is being rebuilt to accommodate hundreds of guests and transport them by air and sea
Plans for The Rig come after it was announced that US theme park company Six Flags will be building 79 hectares outside Riyadh with the world’s fastest roller coaster ever. The theme park will be in Qiddiya, a new city that is being built outside of the capital.
A concert hall in models of the project
A Ferris wheel is also planned for The Rig, which will offer a quieter pace than some of the other rides on offer
A huge water slide in a water park planned for the huge tourist attraction
At the beginning of the year, it announced that it would introduce a second national airline alongside the current Saudia, formerly Saudi Arabian Airlines.
As part of the proposals, it announced it would invest $ 147 billion in transportation and logistics over the next decade.
Plans for The Rig come after it was announced that US theme park company Six Flags will be building 79 hectares outside Riyadh with the world’s fastest roller coaster ever.
The theme park will be in Qiddiya, a new city that is being built outside of the capital.