More than 4000 sites were awarded the world’s leading eco-label for the 2015 season by the Blue Flag International Jury on 9 April in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The full list of awarded sites will be published on the international Blue Flag website on May 20th, where the users will also find detailed information about the services or facilities for disabled people, amongst other things.
“The International Jury was very impressed with the work done by the Blue Flag National Operators and the beach and marina managers. Our numbers are steadily growing, whilst the quality of the sites remains our priority. We are always striving towards excellence, which is why we are currently pilot-testing a set of 38 new criteria for Blue Flag marinas, which should be added to the 2016 criteria. This is a way to always motivate our sites to continue their hard work, even if some of them have been in the programme for 30 years! Indeed, this year our French FEE member is celebrating 30 years of Blue Flag, since the project originated from this country in 1985”, says Sophie Bachet Granados, Blue Flag International Director.
“We also have many other projects in the pipelines, and amongst them the launch of criteria for eco-tourism boats,” she adds. “This has been a huge project which has started three years ago, when I visited Iceland and met with our National Operator (Landvernd) there, as well as one of our Blue Flag whale-watching boats company, Elding. I realised that Blue Flag could and should do much more than ask the companies to sign a code of conduct to fly the flag on their boat, so we started to work on a set of criteria, on the same basis as the beaches or marinas awards. We are now including a whole variety of eco-tourism activities which have direct impact on the coastal environment and marine life. It is a very exciting project, and Blue Flag will proudly take this new step soon, once we have finalised the pilot-testing this summer”, she concludes.
The next meeting of the Blue Flag International Jury will take place in September to award beaches and marinas from the Caribbean, South America, Africa and southwest Pacific.
Blue Flag International is currently working on its website and tools, which will be totally redesigned within the coming months, for better internal and external use.
Additionally, Blue Flag International has in 2015 signed a five year agreement with its flag provider, Semaphore. All flags are produced according to strict environmental rules, and their confection as well as transport is CO2 neutral.
The International Blue Flag Jury is composed of representatives from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), International Lifesaving Federation (ILS), the European Environment Agency (EEA), the European Union for Coastal Conservation (EUCC), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), an Environmental Education expert, the International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA) and FEE.
The Blue Flag also greatly appreciates the support of its sponsor, Semaphore.