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11 December 2015: Virgin Active opens first health club in Botswana, Africa
The opening of Virgin Active’s first health club in Botswana marks a significant step in the company’s expansion journey into Africa.
The new Gaborone health club, officially opened by Botswana’s Assistant Minister of Health, Dr. Alfred Madigele, 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 says that 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”.
Faragher-Thomas said the company had researched the Gaborone market carefully before building the club at Airport Junction, the biggest mall in the country, and 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, with further countries due to be confirmed during 2016.
Faragher-Thomas said he was “moving with a very deliberate purpose into the continent, whilst keeping our focus on SA members and the 15 new clubs we will open here next year”.
Depending on location, building and category, club builds represent an investment of up to R85 million.