April 13, 2024


The dragon from 'Dragon Ball'

The dragon from ‘Dragon Ball’
Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for ReedPop (Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia makes a lot of money from oil. But as the world tries to stave off the worst effects of climate change and transition to a world where we aren’t so reliant on petro-products to fuel our lives, Saudi Arabia has been doing everything in its power to figure out a way to make money from something else. One of those gambits is tourism, and as part of a bid to bring more visitors to the kingdom, the Wall Street Journal reports that Saudi Arabia is building the world’s first Dragon Ball theme park.

The Japanese manga and cartoon was created by Akira Toriyama, who recently died at age 68, and is one of the most popular fictional properties in the world. In January, the research firm Parrot Analytics named the Dragon Ball universe’s Dragon Ball Z as the most in-demand “legacy series” (or show that ended more than 20 years ago) on the planet.

The deal was announced by Toei Animation, the studio that produces Dragon Ball. Saudi Arabia has a 6% stake in its parent company.

The Saudi tourist scheme

Though some question Saudi Arabia’s human rights record as it seeks to bring in revenue from industries more PR-sensitive than oil, the kingdom has said that by 2030 it wants to derive 10% of its GDP from the tourism sector. And not just by the annual pilgrimages to Mecca for hajj, itself a multibillion-dollar industry.

One of the so-called “gigaprojects” being taken on in pursuit of the goal is Qiddiya, a years-in-the-making entertainment hub. Other parts of the project include a Formula 1 circuit, a Six Flags theme park that will include several record-breaking roller coasters, as well as the biggest water park in the Middle East. Given that the country uses well more than half of its electricity cooling itself down, one can only image what the A/C bill will look like.



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