Blue Flag first for Sint Maarten and the US Virgin Islands

On the 28 September 2011, the Blue Flag International Jury has awarded the Blue Flag to a beach and a marina in Sint Maarten as well as 4 beaches in the US Virgin Islands for the first time. Sint Maarten and the US Virgin Islands have therefore now completed their pilot phase and have achieved full implementation of the Blue Flag programme.

The International Jury decided to award the Blue Flag to 81 beaches and 13 marinas in the Bahamas, Brazil, Dominican Republic, French Departments and Territories, Jamaica, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Sint Maarten, South Africa, Turks and Caicos Islands, US Virgin Islands and the United Arab Emirates. Detailed information about the 2011-2012 awards for the Southern Hemisphere and the Caribbean will be published on the Blue Flag from 1 November 2011. 

Malcolm Powell, Chair of the International Blue Flag Jury and member of the FEE Executive Board, said: “Blue Flag is proud to count so many qualitative sites in the world, and to see the interest for the programme increase as more countries join us.”

Originally a French idea, the Blue Flag programme became an international award in 1987 and has since spread across the world, expanding from one to 41 countries and reaching New Zealand, South Africa, Canada and Brazil. In 2011, the Blue Flag sites around the world are in total 3650.

Each year, national Blue Flag juries assess all Blue Flag candidates to ensure they meet all of the criteria for beaches and marinas at the national and international level. Those that do are then forwarded to the International Jury, who focuses on set criteria that varies from year to year, before giving a final verdict.

The International Jury is composed of representatives from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), International Lifesaving Federation (ILS), the World Conservation Union (IUCN), an international environmental education expert, the International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA) and the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).

The Blue Flag International Jury would like to congratulate all sites awarded this year for their commitment to the programme and the high standards achieved for the public and our environment.

The Blue Flag also greatly appreciates the support of its sponsors: Corona Extra, Shipmate and BeachTech.