44 SA beaches have made the Blue Flag grade this summer

04 October 2017 - 17:10 By Dave Chambers
Having beaches with Blue Flag status will help attract tourists to the country, says tourism minister Tokozile Xasa.
Having beaches with Blue Flag status will help attract tourists to the country, says tourism minister Tokozile Xasa.
Image: iStock

Forty-four beaches will fly the Blue Flag this summer‚ signifying clean‚ safe water and high environmental standards.

The beaches’ status was announced on Wednesday at the home of the legendary surfing spot Supertubes — Dolphin Beach in Jeffreys Bay‚ which has flown a Blue Flag for 16 consecutive years.

Only Humewood Beach in Port Elizabeth and Grotto Beach in Hermanus have been on the list for all 17 years the Blue Flag programme has been run locally by the Wildlife & Environmental Society of South Africa.

Blue Flag season begins on November 1‚ with 28 beaches in the Western Cape making it the top province‚ followed by nine in KwaZulu-Natal and seven in the Eastern Cape.

Another 22 beaches in the three provinces are listed as Blue Flag pilot sites‚ working towards full accreditation in future.

Speaking at Wednesday’s launch of 2017/18 beaches‚ tourism minister Tokozile Xasa said Blue Flag status would help to attract five million tourists to South Africa over the next five years.

Said Wessa ecotourism manager Vincent Shacks: “Blue Flag is an excellent example of what is achievable when government‚ both local and national‚ partners with civil society.

“Not only does the programme encourage adherence to very high international standards ... but it has also created an excellent platform from which to develop young and enthusiastic‚ sustainable tourism ambassadors.

“Over the past year these Blue Flag ‘beach stewards’ have played a critical role in the maintenance of the Blue Flag standards at our beaches as well as conducting valuable environmental education activities and campaigns all along our beautiful coastline.” - TimesLIVE

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