PLETTENBERG BAY DOES IT AGAIN… 6 BLUE FLAG STATUS BEACHES AND 1 BLUE FLAG STATUS BOAT FOR 2018/19 BLUE FLAG SEASON
The International Blue Flag Jury meeting took place earlier in September 2018, the awards were presented to 137 sites in the Southern Hemisphere for the 2018-2019 Blue Flag season, including 96 beaches, 19 marinas and 22 boats. As of 2018, the Blue Flag flies over 3,783 beaches, 698 marinas and 77 boats around the world.
In South Africa, 66 Blue Flags will be proudly flown at 46 beaches, 8 marinas and by 12 sustainable tourism boats around South Africa over the forthcoming 2018/19 South African Blue Flag season, which opens officially on the 1st of November 2018. This was announced at the National WESSA Blue Flag launch hosted by the Mossel Bay Municipality at Santos Beach, Mossel Bay, in the Western Cape on the 12th October 2018.
The Western Cape has achieved the highest number of Blue Flag sites, with 30 beaches, 12 boats and seven of the eight Blue Flag marinas. Plettenberg Bay, the designated municipal area referred to as ‘Bitou’, has received 6 Blue Flags for beaches and 1 for a boat operator – Offshore Adventures.
Plettenberg Bay has received Blue Flag status for six beaches during the 2017/18 season. This includes Robberg 5 (10th year), Keurboomstrand (8thyear), Nature’s Valley (7th year), Lookout (5rd year), The Dunes (3rd year) and The Singing Kettle beach (2nd year).
Offshore Adventures continues to add to Plett’s outstanding marine experiences with both of their boats, Robberg Express and Oceanic Express.
“We are very excited about the prestigious ‘Blue Flag’ status awards. As a tourist destination recognized for our pristine shorelines, these are important accolades which fall in line with our current tourism strategy. We are very proud of all the key role-players involved with our beaches including our Bitou Municipal beach development team, our marine activities and our conservation entities who are all committed to our shorelines and who understand the key role that tourism plays in our community,” says Plett Tourism Media Manager Patty Butterworth.
Blue Flag is the prestigious, voluntary eco-label for beaches, boats and marinas that is recognised as a trusted symbol of quality and is regarded by the World Tourism Organisation as the most well-known global eco-label.
The Blue Flag Programme, which has been running internationally since 1987, is focused on the conservation of marine and coastal habitats, and is designed to raise environmental education and awareness, and increase sound environmental practices among tourists, local populations and beach management. To achieve Blue Flag status, as many as 33 different criteria spanning over four aspects of coastal management have to be met: water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, and safety and services. The criteria are set by the international coordinators of the Blue Flag campaign in Europe, the FEE (Foundation for Environmental Education). Each Blue Flag site is compelled to conduct several environmental education activities during the year, and to practice effective and efficient conservation management. The detailed criteria and award process is available on Blue Flag’s international website www.blueflag.global.