Fifty seven Blue flags will be flown for the next 12 months at 51 beaches, four marinas and two tourism boats across South Africa. 33 are in the Western Cape, nine in the Eastern Cape and nine in KwaZulu-Natal.
They were recognised for their excellence in safety, amenities, cleanliness and environmental standards, during a ceremony at Plettenberg Bay, on the Garden Route.
The iconic Blue Flag is the world’s most recognised voluntary eco-label awarded to beaches, marinas and tourism operators.
In South Africa, Blue Flags have been flying since 2001 in 18 coastal municipalities. The project is managed by the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA), under the auspices of the Foundation for Environmental Education in Copenhagen, Denmark.
CEO of WESSA, Helena Atkinson, says South Africa is one of 48 countries implementing this internationally recognised status.
“So today was a very special day because it’s a day we celebrate the municipalities and all their hard work, the boat owners, marinas, people that put in a lot of work to make sure our beaches are safe, our water is clean, that there are lifeguards on duty and environmental education happens at the beaches. The facilities are clean, it’s in good condition. So it’s a wonderful programme that celebrates the quality beaches we have in SA.”
Plettenberg Bay hosted the event for the first time. CEO of Plett Tourism, Patty Butterworth, says they are proud to fly their Blue Flags once again.
“It’s the first time Plett has hosted the launch. We once again received our six Blue Flag status beaches and once again our two blue flag status boats, offshore adventures. They’re the only two remaining boats in SA that have received Blue Flag status which is very exciting for us. The focus with WESSA on Blue Flag beaches is not only with community involvement and working with municipalities but also about nature, conservation and preservation.”
Bitou Mayor, Dave Swart, says they work hard to ensure their beaches are kept environmentally sound, clean and safe.
“Plett is continuously doing what it sets out to do. The Blue Flag status shows we’re looking out for our environment, we’re taking care of our area and we’re making our visitors and our locals’ experiences at the beaches a pleasant one. It shows that by getting the same status at the same beaches year after year, we’re actually doing what we say we’re going to do.”
Three beaches also received certificates for being awarded Blue Flag status for 10 consecutive years: Preekstoel in Hessequa, De Bakke in Mossel Bay and Kings in Nelson Mandela Bay.
Fifty-seven Blue Flags awarded to beaches, boats and Marinas across SA: