This year’s announcement of all the beaches, marinas and whale watching boats that have successfully achieved the status for the season ahead was made at Thesen Harbour in Knysna – home to South Africa’s top estuary in terms of biodiversity.
Plettenberg Bay has four Blue Flag beaches including Robberg V, Keurbooms, Nature Valley and Lookout Beaches.
Mossel Bay’s Santos, De Bakke, Hartenbos and Klein Brak.
Wilderness Beache also complied.
In the Knysna Municipality, Buffalo Bay, Brenton-on-sea as well as Sedgefield Beaches can raise the blue flag this season. Thesen Island marina also received accreditation.
Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom, who delivered the keynote address at the launch, said achieving Blue Flag status not only showed a positive contribution to conserving the country’s natural resources, but was also of value for the tourism sector.
“Tourists visit the country for its beauty and natural resources. This in turn brings opportunities which creates jobs and boosts the economy,”Hanekom said.
He added that the tourism sector created 1.4 million jobs in South Africa.
Blue Flag is an international award given to beaches that meet certain strict criteria in terms of cleanliness, water and sand quality as well environmental education and management.
The criteria is set by the international coordinators of the Blue Flag campaign in Europe, namely the Foundation for Environmental Education. In South Africa it is headed by the Wildlife Education Society of South Africa (Wessa).
More than 40 countries are currently part of the Programme with more than 4000 Blue Flag beaches.