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Health Club Management

Health Club Management

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Editor's letter: Fitness tourism

You’ve got used to your members living just round the corner and it’s true that a typical gym catchment area is normally a 20 minute travel time, but that all seems to be changing as fitness tourism emerges as a new trend

By Liz Terry, Leisure Media | Published in Health Club Management 2018 issue 7
What can you do to make your club attractive to fitness tourists? / Photo: the gym group
What can you do to make your club attractive to fitness tourists? / Photo: the gym group
To attract fitness tourists, you need to have something special to offer and be nimble and responsive, but you don’t have to be big – size doesn’t matter

The Global Wellness Institute identified wellness tourism as a US$563bn market in 2015, with growth between 2013 and 2015 recorded at 14 per cent – more than twice that of overall tourism expenditure at 6.9 per cent.

When it comes to numbers, 691m wellness trips were recorded in 2015, 104.4m more than 2013. New figures are out soon and expected to show continued growth.

The health and fitness segment of the global wellness market is feeling the impact of this growth in wellness tourism, with more people committed to their fitness than ever before, seeking out new or challenging fitness offerings.

Technology and the growth of aggregators is driving and underpinning this trend, making it easier for people to find out about innovative offerings and to access and afford them.

Fitness festivals are part of it, enabling people to buy a specialist holiday break based around their fitness and wellbeing.

You need to have something special on offer to attract them and be nimble and responsive, but size doesn’t seem to matter.

In the last issue of HCM, we talked to the team behind Steel Warriors, the charity set up to turn knives, confiscated on the street by London’s police force, into callisthenics street gyms.

Although a small single site (so far), Steel Warriors is already reporting that it’s attracting fitness tourists.

At the other end of the scale, in this issue we talk to Ralph Scholz, the man charged with the job of bringing McFIT’s new 20,000sq m mega health and fitness development to life in Oberhausen, Germany (see our report on page 48).

Called The Mirai, the €50m development will be free to use, says Scholz, with revenues coming from a range of deals, such as the hire of conference space, permanent trade show areas and upselling of services such as personal training and nutrition advice.

But again, one anticipated source of revenue will be fitness tourists. Scholz says: “The aim is to establish The Mirai as a tourist attraction with a fitness orientation.”

He also says: “The Mirai isn’t primarily about money – perhaps we wouldn’t be doing it if it were. Yes, we have to balance the books. However, when you’re the leading player in Europe’s fitness market, as McFit is, you have to find new challenges to tackle!”

Last month I had a go at booking a class at a gym I’d heard great things about in a city I was visiting for one night – I had to fill in a form on their website and unfortunately, it took them two weeks to call me back, so a missed opportunity.

Are you ready to take advantage of this emerging trend?

http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/338229_404261.jpg
'To attract fitness tourists you need to have something special to offer and be nimble and responsive. You don't have to be big – size doesn't matter' – says HCM editor Liz Terry
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