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14 Mar 2012

Three chains to 'dominate' Middle East
BY Pete Hayman

Three international fitness operators are set to "dominate" the Middle Eastern market in the short-term until others are confident in the stability of the region's political environment.

Fitness First, Gold's Gym and the Lals Group-owned SportsFit Health Clubs already have a presence in the region, with each launching their first sites in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Liam N Fitzgerald of Nomad Leisure Solutions also said in Health Club Management magazine that Al Muftah Group has brought the Anytime Fitness brand to Qatar.

Elsewhere, hotel brands are also looking to enter the fitness market. However, Andy Staines - a Precor distributor - said "the services are highly priced compared to other brands".

Staines believes that a more stable political environment will help attract more diverse brands, while Fitzgerald said the region's market fragmentation was also due to single-site operators.

Fitzgerald said: "While there are some challenges, the potential for growth in the Middle East market for fitness brands and operators continues to rise."

For an overview of the Middle East health and fitness sector, as well as information of the opportunities for international firms, see Health Club Management 2012 Issue 3, p71

Last month (February 2012), it was announced that Fitness First had changed its top management team after experiencing a difficult period of trading in the UK and Australian markets. Read more:

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