486 beaches in Greece have been awarded the Blue Flag this year!
The Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature has announced that, out of a long list of 47 countries, Greece ranked number two on the Blue Flag quality awards this year. In total, the region of Halkidiki collected the majority of awards with 71 flags. Last year, 430 beaches and 9 marinas around Greece were honoured with the quality Blue Flag award.
The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has announced “2017” as the Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. Furthermore, the Blue Flag programme has reached 30 years of successfully accrediting awards to beaches and marinas worldwide.
What is the Blue Flag Programme?
The Blue Flag is a programme of environmental awareness and protection which is implemented every year, on a large scale, in more than 50 countries in Europe and other parts of the world by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). The Blue Flag label is an international symbol of quality and is one of the best known environmental symbols worldwide. It has been awarded since 1987 to beaches and marinas meeting the strict requirements of the programme. It aims at making beaches and marinas better and safer, while at the same time protecting their natural environment, so that we may always enjoy them. The Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature is the programme’s coordinator for Greece. It is the oldest conservation organisation in the country and has been active in environmental education and the protection of nature since 1951.
Did you know?
In order to receive a Blue Flag eco-label, a beach must not only be found to have an excellent quality of bathing water, it must also comply with a further 32 criteria concerning cleanliness, environmental management and organisation, environmental education and information, visitor safety and services, as well as protection of nature, the coast and the coastal area.
It is not easy for a marina to be awarded the Blue Flag. It must meet 24 strict criteria, which have to do with the cleanliness of the marina, organisation, safety of visitors, protection of nature and environmental awareness. Even when a marina is awarded the Blue Flag, it only keeps it that year and goes through the evaluation process again the following year. HSPN and FEE inspectors visit marinas throughout the tourist season and note any problems or shortcomings.