Federation President HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal AlSaud chairs the event discussing the Federation’s aims and abilities with sector leaders The Federation’s direction and future scope to be refined and shaped based on workshop findings to improve the overall success of the fitness and wellness sector

The Saudi Fitness and Wellness Federation (SFWF) held its first Fitness Industry Workshop at The Four Seasons at Kingdom Center in Riyadh on May 8, 2018. Federation President, HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal AlSaud, chaired the event, using the open dialogue platform to strengthen connections and aims within the fitness sector in in the Kingdom, and to gather industry insights to further shape the scope and plans for the Federation. The formation of the SFWF is an acknowledgement of the key role that the fitness and wellness sectors play in promoting a healthier, more active population in the Kingdom. The Federation intends to be a core contributor to the transformation of the Saudi physical activity and sports landscape, in line with the goals of the General Sports Authority (GSA), the Quality of Life program and Vision 2030.

Saudi Fitness and Wellness Federation President, HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal AlSaud, discussing the fitness and wellness industries at the first workshop

The day was well attended by fitness community leaders from small, medium and large gyms, who contributed to the workshop sharing their views on the industry as a whole, as well as the potential future of the Federation and its ability to bolster the growth of the Saudi Arabian fitness and wellness market. The itinerary for the day consisted of a series of presentations by Prince Khaled and other members of the SFWF board, each followed by a roundtable discussion moderated by SFWF board members. Among the topics discussed were the current and future challenges and opportunities for the fitness and wellness sector in KSA, and the ways in which the Federation can best support the industry to grow and further develop.

There was strong acknowledgement of the many improvements recently made to the sector by GSA while under the leadership of His Excellency Turki Al-Sheikh. Attendees were pleased to see the progress in the sector, particularly around female gym licensing and the recent GSA announcement that their 2020 targets for physical activity and sports participation have been reached, with activity rates increasing from 13% to 23% weekly. The participants discussed numerous ways that the Federation and industry leaders could build upon the success of HE Turki Al-Sheikh and the GSA in order to further increase participation in fitness related activities in KSA. In particular, the group discussed ways in which the industry can partner with government to build youth oriented programs and increase appreciation for the value of fitness and wellness as a part of everyday life.

The workshop discussed challenges faced by businesses operating in the fitness and wellness sectors

Discussions also revealed a number of clear themes and challenges which need to be addressed in order to further improve the fitness and wellness landscape in KSA. All those in attendance agreed that despite the much-improved licensing processes implemented by GSA, licensing remains a challenge. Many stakeholders also highlighted the difficulties involved in recruiting qualified employees, both local and international, for their gyms. A variety of solutions to barriers to success were discussed, with the Federation reiterating its commitment to working with partners in the government and in the private sector to address challenges and improve the landscape for fitness and wellness in the Kingdom.

In reflecting on the day, Prince Khaled acknowledged the monumental task of further building the fitness and wellness industry in KSA, but also expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to lead on such a critical topic to the health and wellbeing of Saudi residents. “The SFWF is committed to working with the government and with our private sector stakeholders to address the challenges in the industry, and to capitalize on the many opportunities created by Vision 2030 and the Quality of Life program. We are confident that the Kingdom can become the regional leader in fitness and wellness, and we look forward to further building the industry during this pivotal time in the Kingdom’s development.”

Read the full release by the Saudi Press Agency in Arabic