Anytime Fitness to Enter Middle East

The first health clubs in the region will be in Qatar, and plans are underway to add additional locations in the Middle Eastern state and its neighboring countries.

Anytime Fitness, LLC, said Monday that it plans to open health clubs in the Middle East-starting with three in the Middle Eastern state of Qatar.

The health clubs in Qatar will be run under the ownership of the Almuftah Group, a private company that's based in Qatar and involved in a wide variety of business ventures.

“We are very impressed with the overall concept of Anytime Fitness, especially the franchise's 'Anywhere Club Access' policy (join one club and use them all),” Ali A. Almuftah, director of the Almuftah Group, said in a statement. “We also believe Anytime Fitness' 24-hour access will be very popular, as this is a new concept in the market and most Qataris are becoming increasingly health and fitness conscious.”

Hastings-based Anytime Fitness recently surpassed 1 million members nationwide, and it now has almost 1,500 clubs in eight countries: the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, England, India, and Japan.

The health club chain said that it plans to open clubs in the Netherlands and Poland in the near future.

The three clubs that will soon open in Qatar are just the beginning of what's planned for the Middle Eastern state and its neighbors.

“Our long range goal is to open an Anytime Fitness club in each town in Qatar, to make fitness accessible to everybody,” Almuftah says.”We're also planning to open new clubs in the neighboring countries in the Middle East region.”

The first Anytime Fitness in Qatar will open by July in Al Wakrah; that location will serve as the main base of operations for all of the Almuftah Group's future clubs.

The Qatari government won a bid to host the FŽdŽration Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup in 2022. Almuftah said that he thinks the Qatari government's focus on sports and recreation will help bolster the public's interest in health and fitness.

The State of Qatar is a peninsula situated in the Persian Gulf. It has a population of about 1.7 million people and the highest gross domestic product per capita in the world.