Roundup: Dubai seeks to enhance city image

DUBAI, (PNA/Xinhua) — Dubai is keen on enhancing its citizens’ quality of life by adding new parks and attractions and supporting its citizens with healthy lifestyle alternatives.

Earlier last week, Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al- Maktoum ordered an extension of the beachfront by constructing jogging tracks, greenery and bike tracks.

“We are committed to investing in building healthy human capital through providing an ideal enabling environment,” the Dubai daily Gulf News quoted Al-Maktoum as saying. With a total length of 14 kilometers, the beach corniche will be the longest in the country.

Earlier this year in May, the Dubai leader said the emirate aims to double the number of annual tourists to 20 million from 10 million by 2020. The Gulf Arab sheikhdom wants to win over tourists and visitors by shedding its image as a metropolis that only consists of steel, glass and beaches and reinventing it by planting more trees and creating natural retreats and attractions.

“Dubai definitely needs more attractions,” said Rob Nicholas, founder and owner of NPI Media Group in Dubai.

Nicholas, an Englishman who has been living in the sheikhdom for 28 years is a publisher working with a number of stylish tourist magazines like “Concierge,” which is also published in Chinese and Russian.

He said many travelers say Dubai and the United Arab Emirates are easy to discover within four days, “simply we still need more attractions like leisure parks, more greenery and regular family-oriented events.”

The well-being of Dubai’s 2.5 million residents is also high on the government’s agenda, as diseases like obesity, diabetes and heart problems mushroom amid the spread of fast-food and an alleged “modern” lifestyle.

The Emirati daily The National reported in July this year that half of Dubai’s adult population are obese, according to World Health Organization, which also estimates that the cases of diabetes might climb by 2030.

According to Hussein Lootah, the director general of the Dubai Municipality authority, Dubai is trying to increase the parks, gardens and greenery in the entire city from 4 percent to 20 percent by 2020.