Dubai may have started resuming its business operations and economic activities, but some businesses are still struggling. One of them is the health and fitness industries. Despite the health protocols implemented, the Dubai lifestyle gyms still struggle to get back to their normal operations and profit. Let’s find out how these gyms cope up and recover their business during this pandemic.
Dubai Lifestyle Gyms Struggle to Recover From COVID-19
Since December 2018, Dubai’s health and fitness industry has been flourishing thanks to its innovative facilities. The emirate took pride in offering world-class equipment, group class exercise, club-style lightning, and perfectly fit trainers for their clients.
There’s no reason you won’t get motivated to keep in shape. It astounding 800 clubs around the emirate made the Dubai lifestyle experts project it will earn a whopping $816 million by 2020. Except, it may not happen due to COVID-109.
Since March, UAE implemented closures on businesses that left gym owners heavily reliant on their cash reserves. They’re also at the mercy of their landlords when it comes to negotiating for their rentals. Most of all, they’re forced to resort to online classes half their usual price to generate income. Unfortunately, it’s still not enough. These dire situations forced TribeFit, one of Dubai lifestyle's most successful gyms, to close its doors.
That's just the beginning. Despite Dubai's easing of restrictions and resumption of business in May, these gyms are still struggling. Businesses are only operating at limited capacity. Their profit and income couldn't cover up their expenses anymore. Hence, other Dubai lifestyle gyms like CrossFit GoldBox, Cult. fit, Engine Health, and Fitness, and Flywheel Dubai have closed their businesses too.
The Rise of Digital Gyms
Despite this crisis, some Dubai lifestyle gyms have gone digital. An example of this is the Les Mills International Dubai branch. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company recorded a whopping 700% increase in their online subscriptions in the Middle East.
The company is known for publishing a series of 30-minute HIIT workouts, and virtual reality settings. They will then distribute their videos to over 20,000 club branches worldwide. Meanwhile, the Circuit Factory sees a rise and demand for virtual classes. Its CEO, Parkinson is currently offering $9 per class session.
To prevent the further closure of other Dubai lifestyle gym businesses, the government had intervened. Recently, the Dubai Sports Council eases its COVID-19 restrictions by allowing gym centers to operate at full capacity. Children and elderly people are now allowed to come to gyms.
However, gym owners must implement strict health protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This includes maintaining a regular cleaning regime, usage of masks and sanitizers, and maintaining social distance at all times. The visitors are also required to fill out health forms online for contact tracing purposes.
Despite the relaxation, Parkinson says people will not go back and rush to the studio right away. He expects the public will still be wary of going outside, let alone exercise in a public space. While they’re still willing to cater to customers who will go to their gym facilities personally, they’ll also continue launching Dubai lifestyle, virtual classes.
This is to cater to their customers who prefer to stay at their homes during this pandemic. By implementing a blended business model, Parkinson believed it’ll help businesses, especially gyms, to survive. He’s also hopeful the industry and Dubai’s economy will bounce back after this health crisis.
Dubai lifestyle may be difficult while the pandemic is on-going, but the government is positive it will restore its glory in no time.