Blue Flag International and ENAT sign Memorandum of Understanding

Blue Flag International teams up with European Network for Accessible Tourism to promote Beaches, Marinas and Boat-based activities for All. 

The Foundation for Environmental Education, through its Blue Flag certification, long recognised as the global benchmark for sustainable beaches, marinas and boat-based activities around the world, has signed an agreement with ENAT – The European Network for Accessible Tourism non-profit association to work together to promote access for all visitors to beaches, marinas and boat-based activities.

While the Blue Flag standard already includes a number of requirements related to access provisions for persons with disabilities, the partners recognise that destinations can do more to improve beach, marina and boat-based experiences for these and, indeed, all visitors by providing suitable technical measures and assistance, where needed.

ENAT will share its wide-ranging experience in accessible tourism with Blue Flag International/Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), having worked over the last ten years to raise awareness, conduct research and develop solutions for better access in the tourism sector. ENAT’s partners, clients and members include the UN World Tourism Organisation, the European Commission, European Parliament, ISO, national and regional tourism authorities, tourism enterprises and organisations of people with disabilities.

Speaking after signing their new Memorandum of Understanding, Blue Flag International acting Director, Johann Durand said: Destinations that hold the Blue Flag have accepted the challenge and have a positive attitude to do better, both for the environment and for their visitors.

Accessibility is a key area where good advice is needed – both for planning infrastructure in a sensitive but effective way and for providing services to ensure the health, comfort and safety of visitors with access requirements.

We see our new cooperation with ENAT as a positive step towards achieving full inclusion – not just in word but also in practice at every Blue Flag destination.

ENAT President, Anna Grazia Laura, remarked: We are especially proud and pleased to launch the cooperation with Blue Flag. It is our common view that access is a global issue, which must be a priority for all tourism destinations and communities.

We are looking forward to spreading this message and showing, with many good examples, how families, seniors, people with disabilities or with long-term health conditions - indeed, all visitors and citizens – can benefit from leisure experiences in sea and lakeside environments.

We recognise Blue Flag’s reputation for authoritative and technical leadership in this area and we look forward to supporting the foundation and its global network in relation to policy, standards and education.

To find out more about ENAT check out their website

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Best Practice: Palafrugell municipality in Spain enabling marine life at Posidonia meadows

With more than 570 awarded beaches, Spain is the county with the highest amount of Blue Flag awarded sites worldwide. Three of these beaches belong to the municipality of Palafrugell in Girona. Since 2011 they actively participate in the monitoring of nearby Posidonia meadows, leading to many positive developments for local marine species.

Posidonia is a seagrass that grows in meadows in the Mediterranean Sea. It shelters various species of marine plants and animals, making these meadows an ecosystem with high biodiversity. This seagrass also serves as a nursery for many fish species. Posidonias have strong roots that retain sand and therefore act as a natural barrier protecting the coast from storms.

Parafrugell municipality elaborates maps of the seabed, enabling them to place buoys where they do not harm the Posidonia. In order to additionally protect the meadows, environmentally friendly buoys are promoted. Thanks to these actions, they have observed that some areas of Posidonia meadows have been restored.

The municipality also collaborates with other underwater projects, such as the examination of fan shells (Pina nobilis) populations affected by a parasite. Fan shells are protected molluscs that inhabit Posidonia meadows and their growth depends on a good state of the meadows. Pina nobilis is the biggest mollusc of the Mediterranean and can grow up to a meter.

30 years of Blue Flag in The Netherlands

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In 1987, 1 marina at the Wadden Island of Terschelling and the beaches of Noordwijk, Wadden Island Ameland, Veere and Westenschouwen received the first Blue Flag as the Blue Flag campaign started that year in The Netherlands.

Now, 30 years later, these locations have still Blue Flag, 30 years after each other. But the program increased in the Netherlands to 182 locations. 122 marina's, 8 inland beaches and 52 beaches at the Dutch North Sea coast.

At 18 May the municipality of The Hague hosted the 30st launch of Blue Flag in The Nehterlands. Al the Blue Flags from 1987 to 2017 waved at the pooles on the beach (thanks to the Blue Flag collegues of Portugal). A lot of school children helped to open the 2017 Blue Flag season by digging in the sand of the beach. They found the largest Blue Flag of the world and spread this big flag out over the beach.

The Blue Flag certificates were reached out to the beach and marina managers at the Olympic Top Sailing Centre at the Yachtclub Scheveningen.

 

 

The Blue Flag Mediterranean week: Caring for the sea that unites us

Cross Mediterranean countries Blue Flag Beach cleanups week under the international "clean seas" to start between 3-10 July.

13 countries around the Mediterranean are involved in an international campaign for protecting the marine environment "The Blue Flag Mediterranean week".

In the first week of July, beach clean ups will be organized in order to raise awareness in the public for protecting the shore and the marine environment. The initiative started from the idea that environment have no boundaries and the litter that thrown in one side of the Mediterranean will easily reach the other side. The organizations joined the clean up under the slogan "Caring for the sea that unite us"

Stay up to date and check your social networks #BlueFlagMedWeek