25 national associations came together as part of EuropeActive’s series of roundtables which are actively planning the future of fitness. European associations were joined by representatives from Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and Georgia to form the largest such interest group for three sessions exploring how international cooperation can help lead the sector out of COVID-19, to build political capital and to promote the importance of healthy lifestyles through a cooperative and mutually beneficial approach.

EU & Public Affairs Director Lukas Declercq described how the new #BEACTIVE DAY campaign centred on the European Commission’s flagship event of the European Week of Sport in September will be led by a single message of #BEACTIVE. Already the fitness sector contributes large number of participants to the Week, and by focussing on a new brand identity there should be increased awareness to ramp-up participation numbers and the opportunity for national campaigns to become more united.

Patrick Rijnbeek, Director of NL Actief explained how the market in the Netherlands is being repositioned to work more closely with people who have lifestyle or non-communicable diseases. Certain clubs are now developing schemes for patients coming from healthcare professionals and others through self-referral who need higher specialist raining within fitness trainers and in quality-controlled clubs. The scheme is also being developed with the health insurance market as a model that will be expanded over time. NL Actief has been collecting data and evidence to help support the scheme development which is already proving successful. There will be an extra dimension added to assist COVID-19 suffers back to health and full rehabilitation when the clubs re-open in the near future.

The third session concerned the work of the European DataHub which is a collaboration between EuropeActive, 4Global, Deloitte and other key project partners with the challenge that high-quality data and insight is needed to support the recovery and growth of the European fitness sector. Dr Steve Mann from 4Global explained that cross-sector partnerships are needed to unlock data that will enable the most impactful insight and to build the evidence base for the sector’s future development.

Operators, club management systems, national associations and suppliers will collectively develop performance indicators that will add value when presented as a sector, and to point out social value reporting to better demonstrate the wider impact of the industry. The European DataHub will have 4 main outcomes in 2021 – to better understand C19 recovery investment, to lead industry participation and health insight, provide a high-speed high impact analysis and reporting capability and importantly to create added value services for national associations.

EuropeActive Executive Director Andreas Paulsen explained that the European DataHub is an integral part of EuropeActive’s strategy bringing together new Advisory Groups and its research centre known as THiNK Active. He also elaborated on EuropeActive's new colleague joining the Brussels-based EU & Public Affairs team with the goal of strengthening relationships with our National Associations Partners.

Commenting on the EFAF Roundtable which took place on Tuesday 2nd March Andreas said “this gathering of national associations has brought together an incredible amount of knowledge, experience and request for a sharper focus that will help our sector to find a positive way through our recovery and future developments. I am immensely proud that EuropeActive has developed this initiative which has grown in strength and size since its inception in April 2019 and is now attracting associations from outside our European area to become the largest event of its kind anywhere”.


Mar 2, 2021 By Carlos Fernandez