From: Reuters
Published March 5, 2008 01:03 AM

Six Flags, Dubai plan Arab world theme parks

DUBAI (Reuters) - U.S. theme park operator Six Flags Inc <SIX.N> said it agreed with company owned by the ruler of Dubai to develop theme parks in the Arab world, including one in Dubai in Six Flag's first foray outside North America.

Six Flags and Tatweer, a unit of Dubai Holding, will next year start building a 5 million square foot (464,500 sq meter) theme park in Dubai, the two companies said in a statement late on Tuesday.

Dubai, a member of the desert state of the United Arab Emirates, is already home to three palm-tree shaped islands off its coast and an indoor ski slope.

The project will be in Dubailand, a stretch of desert almost five times the size of Manhattan, where Dubai Holding is building what it says will be the world's longest leisure strip with hotels modeled on Egyptian palaces, Hollywood and London's Houses of Parliament.

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"Expanding Six Flags beyond our current North American borders validates the growing strength and momentum of our brand," Six Flags President Mark Shapiro said in the statement.

Six Flags -- which has about 21 amusement parks in the United States, Mexico and Canada -- would work with Tatweer to take theme and water parks, restaurants, hotels and retail outlets across the region, they said.

Dubai is one of seven emirates that make up the UAE, the world's fifth-largest oil exporter.

Dubai Holding is owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.

(Writing by Daliah Merzaban; Editing by Ben Tan)

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