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Setting up a Fitness Club in Abu Dhabi

Setting up a Fitness Club in Abu Dhabi

With a growing population and a high percentage of expats, the UAE market has encouraged national as well as international fitness companies to invest in the market. In 2016, the fitness industry in the UAE was estimated to be worth $380m in 2016, according to research firm, Statista.

Some of the world’s most prominent fitness brands have set up business in the UAE, including American chain Gold’s Gym and UK brand Fitness First. In recent years, there has also been innovation in this sector with a move towards more down to earth functional training. There are significant opportunities in the UAE and an appetite for both private sessions as well as group training amongst residents.

To set up a fitness club as a limited liability company in Abu Dhabi, numerous mandatory requirements, outlined by the Department of Economic Development, must be met.

The fitness club must also obtain authorisation from

To obtain a new license to set up a Fitness Club, the owner must be 21 years old or above and gain approval of the General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs, provide a copy of a registered tenancy contract as well as a memorandum of association.

The property for the new Fitness Centre must also meet a considerably extensive list of criteria which includes, but is not limited to, the below;

  • Must be on the ground floor of the establishment and the premises cannot be used for any other activities than those stated on the license
  • Lighting and ventilation must meet the correct standard to include fan/air exhaust must be installed and be able to service the whole premises
  • It is prohibited to use the area around the establishment for storage or to accumulate the goods
  • There must be a fully furnished administrative office to conduct and manage activity with 30m²
  • First-aid equipment must be available
  • General cleanliness of the premises where the activity is carried out
  • Anti-bacterial soap, tissue paper and disinfectant must be supplied for use by customers
  • Sinks and drains must be provided (must meet instructions of the appropriate authority)
  • Electric insect kills must be installed, and Pest Control is compulsory by contracting with approved pest control companies
  • Fine metal mesh must be put on all windows and ventilation openings to prevent entry of insects
  • Pedal rubbish bins with a lid must be provided
  • Provision of employee uniform with the establishment logo or name appearing on it
  • Sketch showing the location and address of the establishment to be provided
  • Smoking is not permitted and there should be a signage informing the same to both employees and customers

Fitness trainers will also need to obtain valid visas by declaring competence, meeting the correct qualifications, experience in the industry and having a correct trade license.

For more information about establishing a Limited Liability Company in Abu Dhabi and setting up a Fitness Centre, please visit https://www.propartnergroup.com/abu-dhabi/ or call the PRO Partner Group Abu Dhabi office.

When setting up an LLC, PRO Partner Group will become the Emirati 51% corporate partner. This allows us to ensure you can run your business unhindered and takes away any pressure on you to independently find and maintain a trustworthy local sponsor relationship.


Audrey HautionAudrey Haution is the Business Development at PRO Partner Group. For further information on PRO Partner Group’s comprehensive range of market entry services or questions relating to company set up in the UAE, contact Audrey on audrey@propartnergroup.com or call a member of the team on:

T: +971 (0)4 456 1761 (Dubai)
T : +971 (0)2 448 5120 (Abu Dhabi)
www.propartnergroup.com