HBG Events FZ LLC, an event organiser based in the United Arab Emirates, have organised the annual, co-located Dubai Active, Dubai Active Industry and the Dubai Muscle Show since 2016. Collectively, these events form the largest fitness event in the Middle East. Now, however, IEG (Italian Exhibition Group S.p.A.) have reached an agreement for the full acquisition of HBG Events, meaning that they will be running the show going forwards.
IEG are a leading company in Italy for the organisation of international trade fairs, specialising in hosting large scale shows, fairs and conferences around the world.
The 2019 show was the largest yet, with over 25,000 exercise and fitness professionals, experts and enthusiasts descending on the 18,500 square metre venue, making it feel more like a large town than a regular fitness expo. However, discussions with IEG had already begun at that point as the Italian company looked to bring their expertise to bear in, potentially expanding the show out from its already impressive current scale.
IEG have form when it comes to dealing with this kind of fitness show and expo. They have been organising Rimini Wellness in Italy for the past 15 years. Rimini Wellness is one of the premier events in the world within the fitness, wellness and sport sectors. It regularly covers 170,000 square metres of both indoor and outdoor athletic space and hosts over 200,000 attendees, offering 400 exhibiting brands, 200 conferences, 1,500 hours of instruction and workouts, over 2,000 training sessions, as well as meetings and professional seminars.
Strategically, IEG sees the acquisition of HBG Events as the first step towards creating a worldwide network of fitness events under the aegis of Rimini Wellness, bringing Rimini’s scale to the emirates in the coming years.
At present, the Middle East represents one of the fastest-growing fitness markets in the world, with Dubai’s fitness scene proving itself a key lynchpin in the area. The enthusiasm and atmosphere surrounding events like Dubai Active, Dubai Active Industry and the Dubai Muscle Show shows that it is hungry for more, able to provide the emirates with the scale of event available elsewhere in the world.
In addition, local government have pledged large scale investment into the sports and fitness sector in the region. This includes Dubai Sports Council’s 10-year strategic plan, involving the creation of opportunities for local and global brands to expand and thrive, alongside initiatives like the Dubai Fitness Challenge. Featuring Dubai 30x30, the Dubai Fitness Challenge is an annual celebration of the world of fitness. The challenge is open to everybody in the city and requires participants to complete 30 minutes of activity every day for 30 days, whilst hosting all the events needed to make this achievable. Hundreds of gyms take part and, as a result, more people than ever are beginning to take out gym memberships and get involved in active lifestyles.
All taken together, the fitness industry is buzzing in Dubai.
Because of this, and its key strategic location, European companies like IEG are seeing Dubai’s great potential for eastward expansion of their businesses. IEG’s acquisition of Dubai Active, Dubai Active Industry and the Dubai Muscle Show is seen by industry leaders as an unrivalled opportunity for the European fitness market to access the extraordinary potential of the Middle East.
Corrado Peraboni, CEO of IEG, recently released a statement.
“Our mission in the world of trade fairs,” he said, “is to generate global business opportunities for companies, while developing commercial platforms and events that connect knowledge and innovation. This mission, launched just after the 2019 edition of Rimini Wellness, includes the acquisition of HBG Events, with the intention of creating new opportunities for our clients, contributing to the training of fitness professionals, and thus fuel the demand for health and well-being worldwide. We look forward to also export some of the innovative products that have built our leadership in the market, such as FoodWell, which is dedicated to Italian excellence in wellness nutrition.”
The Directors of HBG Events, Nick Blair, Craig Hartley and Deep Marwaha, have been fundamental to its growth, including growth surrounding its Dubai-based shows. Their experience, drive and expertise are vital in maintaining events at the standard that Dubai fitness enthusiasts have come to expect. They will be remaining as senior management for the foreseeable future and are very optimistic about the future of fitness in the city.
“We are extremely proud of what the team at HBG Events has created with Dubai Muscle Show, Dubai Active, and Dubai Active Industry,” they recently stated in a joint statement.
“Since its launch in 2016, the event has seen huge growth year-on-year, which is a testament to the work of an amazing team, but also a reflection of the huge growth and potential of the market. The Middle East fitness industry is booming, with gym memberships per capita increasing every year, and an increasing number of investors and entrepreneurs entering the market. We are very excited to be joining forces with one of the largest fitness events in the world, Rimini Wellness, and look forward to seeing how we can take the event to the next level by strengthening ties with the international fitness community and utilising the increased global resources that IEG are able to bring.”
Obviously, the state of large-scale gatherings like Dubai Active, Dubai Active Industry and the Dubai Muscle Show are in question at present, as large parts of the world grow isolated under Covid-19 restrictions.
As they make clear on their website, organisers are taking the health and wellbeing of their attendees very seriously. Their teams are keeping watch over recent developments and, through consultation with authorities and their many partners, they have decided to react with a postponement until early next year. The next Dubai Active, Dubai Active Industry and the Dubai Muscle Show will now be held on January 14th- 16th 2021 at Dubai World Trade Centre.
More information can be found on their website, alongside Dubai Muscle Show tickets and Dubai Active Show tickets.