WLO aims to improve leisure scene in China
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The World Leisure Organization ( WLO) is working to promote healthy living in China’s small cities and towns by encouraging more people to take part in leisure activities.
Zhou Lijun, a member of the board of directors at WLO and a sports expert from Zhejiang University, said that while China’s economy h=as improved significantly over the years, people’s health have generally deteriorated as there is now an increasing number of citizens facing problems such as diabetes and heart diseases.
Roger Coles, chairman of the board of directors at WLO, as well as several other members from the organization said that having a greater focus on pursuing leisure activities will also help boost the local tourism economy.
“I am very impressed by the natural landscapes and how they add to the ancient charm of many small Chinese cities and towns. Improving the leisure activities scene in these places will not only benefit the local residents, but also the tourists,” said Coles, during the 2016 International Conference on (Health) Leisure Small Town Development, held in Jingde county, Xuancheng city of East China’s Anhui province on April 23.
One of the suggestions from Coles is that local governments can build more walking paths and biking trails. He said that such routes, regardless of their length, are valuable assets to any community as they provide free recreation spaces for people of all ages and fitness levels.
As a popular tourism destination in the country, Jingde is the first location in China that has applied to become a “World Leisure Town”. However, before the county — it has a population of about 152,000 — can be recognized by the WLO, the local government has to improve in a few aspects, including environment and leisure facilities.
“We are looking forward to seeing how Jingde can improve and we hope it can be an example for other small cities and towns in the country”, said Coles.
Hangzhou, capital of East China’s Zhejiang province, is currently the only place in the country that has been acknowledged by the WLO as a “World Leisure City”.
The WLO, founded in 1952 and headquartered in Spain, is a non-government organization that operates in consultative status with the United Nations.