by Hans Muench
2012 was a busy year for IHRSA´s Director of Europe, Hans Muench. Visiting 18 countries (some for the first time, and five more than once), making 18 presentations and logging over 50 flights. Highlights include the first-ever IHRSA seminars in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Lebanon.
Here are some impressions I’ve had:
1. Some of the best clubs are in places you do not expect, such as;
– Italy: Ego Wellness in the medieval town of Lucca and Eden Benessere in Reggio Emilia.
– Turkey: in Istanbul: Mars Athletic Clubs, My Clubs and D-Gym boast impressive architecture and are also among the largest in Europe.
2. Interesting game-changing models in smaller countries:
– Norway: Evo Fitness has opened 30 clubs in the past three years (plus two in Finland), with essentially no staff and 100% of memberships sold online
.- Portugal: Fitness Hut has opened 4 clubs in the past 18 months, bucking the trend in an otherwise struggling market.
3. New IHRSA partners in various emerging markets are helping professionalise the industry:
– Insight International (Lebanon, Jordan and U.A.E.)´s Daniel Nasr
– 3D Fitness (Czech Republic and Slovakia)´s Miroslav Jircik
– IWI (Hungary)´s Dr. Laszlo Zopcsakand
– Benefit (Poland)´s Robert Kaminski
In 2013 IHRSA will hold its first meeting in Istanbul, Turkey. Presentations at Meet the Top (Antalya), MAS (La Coruna, Spain), Sports Unlimited (Valencia, Spain), Forum (Bologna, Italy), Benefit´s Sector meeting (Warsaw, Poland) and CrediCare´s Annual Meeting (Oslo, Norway) in the first four months of the year are helping to share information and best practices and bring the industry together.
Hans Muench is Directorof Europe for IHRSA, International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association. Born in Canada and now based in Munich, Germany, he can be reached at email@example.com
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