Cape Town - Virgin Active has opened its first health club in Botswana and regards it as a significant step in the group’s expansion into Africa.
The new Gaborone health club is the first for the group on the continent outside of South Africa and Namibia, where it has two clubs in Windhoek.
Managing director Ross Faragher-Thomas said Africa offers significant strategic growth potential for the company.
“South Africa is our biggest market, but we believe we can replicate our success across the continent as long as we move with proper care and consideration for each specific market,” said Faragher-Thomas.
He added that the company had researched the Gaborone market carefully before building the club at Airport Junction, the biggest mall in the country. He described Botswana as “the obvious choice for this first move, given its stability, investor friendly economy and growing middle class”.
Nairobi is next for Virgin Active, with a club opening planned for the latter part of 2016 and further countries due to be confirmed during 2016.
Faragher-Thomas said he was “moving with a very deliberate purpose into the continent, while keeping the focus on SA members and the 15 new clubs to be opened in the country in 2016.
Depending on the location, building and category, club builds represent an investment of up to R85m.