10 October 2013

Blue Flag beaches enhance SA's reputation as a world-class tourist destination

Thirteen years ago, just three South African beaches held Blue Flag status. Today, 41 South African beaches and five marinas have Blue Flag status.

Cape Town's Clifton Beach. Cape Town's Clifton Beach

Feedback has shown that both international and domestic tourists value the quality assurances that Blue Flag beaches offer. – Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk

Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk launched the 2013/14 Blue Flag season in Ramsgate, KwaZulu-Natal, on 8 October 2013.

The Blue Flag and Blue Drop programmes were introduced in South Africa 13 years ago to promote and ensure water quality for inland and marine tourism. Blue Flag promotes sustainable development marine areas, while Blue Drop is an innovative way to manage tap-water quality.

'As the global tourism sector grows, its impact on natural resources also grows, and therefore the need for sustainable planning and management becomes imperative for this industry. Blue Flag does just that,' said Van Schalkwyk at the launch of Blue Flag season.

He said that for South Africa to further optimise its tourism potential, it is critical to offer both domestic and international visitors clean, safe and well-managed beaches.

'Feedback has shown that both international and domestic tourists value the quality assurances that Blue Flag beaches offer. Blue Flag gives local and foreign visitors the knowledge that the beaches adhere to international safety and other tourist standards,' he said.

He added that South Africa's Blue Flag beaches increase the country's desirability and reputation as a world-class tourist destination.

The Blue Flag programme, which originated in Europe in 1987 to encourage beaches to comply with the European Union's Bathing Water Directive, now operates in more than 40 countries. It is a voluntary eco-label given to beaches that meet 32 main criteria in the areas of water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, and safety and services.

In addition to providing accreditation for beaches, the Blue Flag programme also provides environmental accreditation to marinas and whale-watching boats, and this year for the first time has included Marine Protected Areas in the International Blue Flag Criteria.

South Africa's Blue Flag beaches and marinas for the 2013/14 period are:

Thesen Island, Knysna
Yachport, Saldanha Bay
Granger Bay Water Club, Cape Town
False Bay Yacht Club, Cape Town
Royal Alfred Marina, Port Elizabeth

Southport Beach – between Scottburgh and Margate
Ramsgate Beach, Ramsgate
Lucien Beach, Margate
Umzumbe Beach – between Hiberdene and Port Shepstone
Marina Beach – between San Lameer and Southbroom
Alkanstrand Beach, Richards Bay

Western Cape
Strandfontein Beach, Vredendal
Silverstroomstrand, Atlantis
Camps Bay, Cape Town
Clifton IV, Cape Town
Bikini Beach, Gordon’s Bay
Muizenberg Beach, Cape Town
Strandfontein Beach, Cape Town
Mnandi Beach, False Bay
Llandudno, Cape Town
Hawston Beach, Hermanus
Grotto Beach, Hermanus
Witsand, Hessequa – Cape South Coast
Lappiesbaai, Stilbaai – Cape South Coast
Gouritsmond, Hessequa – Cape South Coast
Preekstoel, Stilbaai – Cape South Coast
De Bakke, Mossel Bay
Kleinbrak, Mossel Bay
Santos, Mossel Bay
Hartenbos, Mossel Bay
Wilderness, Garden Route National Park
Buffalo Bay, Knysna
Brenton Bay, Knysna
Keurboomstrand, Plettenberg Bay
Robberg V, Plettenberg Bay
Nature’s Valley, Garden Route National Park

Eastern Cape
Dolphin Beach, Jeffreys Bay
Humewood Beach, Port Elizabeth
King's Beach, Port Elizabeth
Kariega, Kenton-on-Sea
Middle Beach, Port Alfred
Kleinemond, West Beach, Ndlambe
Boknes Beach, Boknesstrand, Ndlambe
Kellys Beach, Port Alfred

Northern Cape
MacDougall's Bay, Port Nolloth