25 Oct 2019/20 BLUE FLAG STATUS AWARDED TO 64 OF SA’S TOP BEACHES, SUSTAINABLE TOURISM BOATS AND MARINAS
64 Blue Flags will be proudly flown at 45 beaches, 9 marinas and by 10 sustainable tourism boats around South Africa over the forthcoming 2019/20 South African Blue Flag season. The season officially opens on the 1st of November 2019. This was announced at the National WESSA Blue Flag launch hosted by the V & A Waterfront in Cape Town on the 23rd October 2019.
The Western Cape has achieved the highest number of Blue Flag sites, with 33 beaches, 10 boats and seven of the nine Blue Flag marinas. The Eastern Cape has been awarded two Blue Flag Marina sites, as well as six beaches. Kwa-Zulu Natal has been awarded six Blue Flag beaches.
The Blue Flag programme also allows for potential Blue Flag sites to participate in the Pilot Programme. This year will see 35 beaches across our three coastal provinces on this development phase of the programme. WESSA will work with beach managers from these Pilot beaches, towards the longer-term goal of achieving full Blue Flag status. Part of this support includes the provision of Tourism Beach Stewards to these beaches, over the busiest holiday periods.
In her opening address, Mayoral Committee Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Ms Marian Nieuwoudt said, “Blue Flag offers the City a management tool for acceptable living” and she mentioned that “We need to educate to change behavior”
Speaking at the event, South African endurance swimmer and founder of Breathe Conservation, Sarah Ferguson thanked WESSA for the work the organisation is doing through the Blue Flag programme and she emphasised that “together we can make a change and achieve great things, if we all find our passion and follow that and in the process think about the environment”
An impressive 40% of the Blue Flag beach sites have been on the programme for 10 or more consecutive years, while 7 of those sites have been on for 15 or more consecutive years. This season also sees the addition of four brand new sites to the programme. WESSA is proud to be the national implementing partner for Blue Flag in South Africa since 2001.
Broadcasters please note that the WESSA CEO Dr Thommie Burger, and Vincent Shacks GM of Sustainable Tourism are available for radio and television interviews.
Links to images and captions:
Image 1 Sarah Ferguson and WESSA CEO Dr Thommie Burger presenting Marian Nieuwoudt, Councillor City of Cape Town, certificates for 10 Blue Flag full status and 1 pilot beach
Image 2 Sarah Ferguson and WESSA CEO Dr Thommie Burger presenting Carel Venter and Cliffie Beyman, from Mossel Bay Municipality, certificates for 5 Blue Flag full status beaches
Image 3 Sarah Ferguson and WESSA CEO Dr Thommie Burger presenting Nosicelo Xhasa, from Ndlambe Municipality, certificates for 2 Blue Flag full status and 1 pilot beach
Image 4 Sarah Ferguson and WESSA CEO Dr Thommie Burger presenting Nombuso Dube, from Ethekwini Municipality, certificates for 1 Blue Flag full status and 11 pilot beaches
Image 5 Sarah Ferguson and WESSA CEO Dr Thommie Burger presenting Andre Blaine, Louis Souls and Joshio Fisher, from V & A Waterfront, certificates for Blue Flag full status Marina
Image 6 Sarah Ferguson and WESSA CEO Dr Thommie Burger presenting Francis Saul and Mariette Hopley, from White Shark Ventures, certificates for full status boat
Image 7 Official Flag Raising done by WESSA CEO Dr Thommie Burger and Joshio Fisher, Louis Souls Thommie and Andre Blaine from V & A Waterfront and Marian Nieuwoudt from City of Cape Town
About WESSA Blue Flag:
The WESSA Blue Flag Programme, now in its 19th year, is focused on the conservation of marine and coastal habitats, and is designed to raise environmental education and awareness, and increase sound environmental practices among tourists, local populations and beach management bodies.
To achieve Blue Flag status, as many as 33 different criteria spanning over four themes of coastal management must be met and maintained: These are water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, and safety and services. Each Blue Flag site is compelled to conduct several environmental education activities during the year, and to practise effective and efficient conservation management.
In South Africa, the Blue Flag programme is managed by WESSA and participating coastal municipalities. In the Southern Hemisphere, the Blue Flag season runs from 1 November to 31 October each year. Beaches are required to apply for Blue Flag status each year and the Blue Flag standards are only enforced at the beaches over the participating beach’s stated season, which varies from just two months of the year to the full 12 months.
The WESSA Blue Flag Programme is operated under the auspices of the Foundation for Environmental Education and is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark. The baseline criteria are set by the international coordinators of the Blue Flag campaign in Europe, the FEE (Foundation for Environmental Education). Through close collaboration with their members on all issues, the Foundation for Environmental Education works to ensure the programme’s expansion, and that the unrivalled standards of the Blue Flag are maintained internationally. The detailed criteria and award process is available on Blue Flag’s international website www.blueflag.global
WESSA is a 93-year-old youthful and vibrant organisation with a rich history in South African conservation and environmental education. WESSA researches, develops and implements focused accredited and non-accredited environmental, ecotourism, education and youth development programmes throughout South Africa. We are the sole and proud implementor of all the international Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) programmes in South Africa, as well as an implementor of choice for various youth programmes on behalf of Government and the private sector. Our youth education programmes under the banners of Eco-Schools, Learning about Forests, Young Reporters for the Environment and Youth Entrepreneurship, together with our five outdoor education centres, make a critical contribution to youth development. We are developing and giving hands on work experience to 800 unemployed youth through our Blue Flag, Green Coast and other Youth Programmes. We have a volunteer membership footprint throughout the country, with passionate members ensuring that local conservation and environmental issues are addressed. We are ‘People Caring for the Earth’ and we invite you to join us in our quest to become champions of the environment and achieving a more sustainable South Africa for all. For more information visit www.wessa.org.za