Blue Flag a­wards for Knys­na and P­lett

Knysna-Plett Herald - - Voorblad - Ju­lie Jef­fe­rys

At a pres­ti­gi­ous e­vent at Dolphin Be­ach, Jef­freys Bay, the be­a­ches, ma­ri­nas and sus­tai­na­ble tou­rism bo­ats which had ap­p­lied for and com­p­lied with the re­qui­red in­ter­na­ti­o­nal stan­dards, we­re a­war­ded Blue Flag sta­tus for the se­a­son that com­men­ces on 1 No­vem­ber.

In to­tal, 62 Blue Flags we­re a­war­ded for South A­fri­ca: 44 for be­a­ches, se­ven for ma­ri­nas and 11 for sus­tai­na­ble tou­rism bo­ats.

The We­stern Ca­pe re­cei­ved the hig­hest num­ber of a­wards, with 28 of the 44 be­a­ches within its bor­ders. Knys­na sho­ne w­hen it re­cei­ved t­his sta­tus for two be­a­ches, B­ren­to­non-Sea and Buf­fa­lo Bay, the two ma­ri­nas on T­he­sen Is­lands, and three sus­tai­na­ble tou­rism bo­ats, being the O­ce­an O­dys­sey bo­ats Oys­ter Ca­t­cher, Dolphin II, and Sou­sa.

The Wild­li­fe and En­vi­ron­ment Society of South A­fri­ca (Wes­sa), which ma­na­ges the Blue Flag pro­gram­me in South A­fri­ca, con­fir­med that all ap­pli­ca­ti­ons we­re sub­ject to a “ri­gorous mul­tis­ta­ge ap­pro­val pro­cess in­vol­ving both na­ti­o­nal and in­ter­na­ti­o­nal as­ses­sments by a South A­fri­can and in­ter­na­ti­o­nal ju­ry pa­nel”.

Mi­nis­ter of Tou­rism To­ko­zi­le Xa­sa than­ked Wes­sa for the work it was doing and emp­ha­si­sed the im­por­tan­ce of the pro­gram­me in acting as a sel­ling tool to at­tract vi­si­tors to our sho­res. Wes­sa’s e­co­tou­rism ma­na­ger Vin­cent S­hacks sta­ted that the Blue Flag pro­gram­me “is an ex­cel­lent ex­am­ple of w­hat is a­chie­va­ble w­hen go­vern­ment, both lo­cal and na­ti­o­nal, part­ner with ci­vil society”. He al­so high­lig­h­ted the job cre­a­ti­on pro­ject a­ri­sing out of the part­ners­hip be­t­ween Wes­sa and the na­ti­o­nal De­part­ment of Tou­rism, w­he­re­by ste­wards are em­ploy­ed on Blue Flag be­a­ches.

Knys­na Tou­rism chair El­may Bou­wer says, “We are thril­led that Knys­na is wa­ving the Blue Flag from its har­bours, bo­ats and be­a­ches! T­his is g­re­at news for us as a des­ti­na­ti­on. Con­g­ra­tu­la­ti­ons to O­ce­an O­dys­sey who ha­ve three Blue Flag bo­ats, and to T­he­sen Har­bour To­wn and T­he­sen Is­lands, and to the mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty for its be­a­ches Brenton and Buf­fa­lo Bay. We are very proud of them for a­chie­ving in­ter­na­ti­o­nal re­cog­ni­ti­on and for meet­ing the stan­dards of ex­cel­len­ce re­qui­red by t­his pres­ti­gi­ous a­ward.”

Knys­na-P­lett He­rald caug­ht up with O­ce­an O­dys­sey’s E­ve­lyn Pe­pler on her re­turn from Jef­freys Bay. She ex­plai­ned that t­his is the fourth ye­ar that the com­pa­ny has re­cei­ved t­his a­ward, as the sta­tus is on­ly va­lid for a se­a­son and a new ap­pli­ca­ti­on must be ma­de an­nu­al­ly to en­s­u­re that com­pli­an­ce with stan­dards is main­tai­ned.

As Pe­pler ex­plai­ned, un­li­ke ma­ny ot­her tou­rism a­wards w­he­re no checks and ba­lan­ces are in pla­ce and it sim­ply co­mes do­wn to a num­bers ga­me (tho­se who can­vass the most vo­tes win), in the ca­se of the Blue Flag a­wards, ri­gorous stan­dards are set and must be met and com­p­lied with.

“It is cer­tain­ly not a che­ap exe­r­ci­se,” she said. “The com­pa­ny has to car­ry the re­gis­tra­ti­on cos­ts and the at­ten­dan­ce cos­ts of all na­ti­o­nal and in­ter­na­ti­o­nal e­vents that are at­ten­ded.” Pe­pler will be re­pre­sen­ting her bu­si­ness and ul­ti­ma­te­ly Knys­na as a des­ti­na­ti­on at the u­p­co­ming Wor­ld Tra­vel Mar­ket Lon­don and the SA Tou­rism Net­her­lands ro­ads­how, w­he­re she ho­pes to in­spi­re ma­ny mo­re tou­ris­ts to vi­sit “our a­ma­zing to­wn”.

News flash

‘We are thril­led that Knys­na is wa­ving the Blue Flag from its har­bours, bo­ats and be­a­ches!’

Wil­der­ness be­ach met all the cri­te­ria for re­cei­ving Blue Flag sta­tus – but E­den Dis­trict mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty (EDM) did not hand in the ne­ces­sa­ry ap­pli­ca­ti­on despi­te being promp­ted to do so. T­his was con­fir­med by Blue Flag na­ti­o­nal co­as­tal coor­di­na­tor Ro­bert Sla­ter con­fir­med last week. As a re­sult, the be­ach fai­led to get the much soug­ht-af­ter a­ward.

Wes­sa CEO Dr T­hom­mie Bur­ger (left) and Mi­nis­ter of Tou­rism To­ko­zi­le Xa­sa flank Gi­na Oost­huy­sen and Elf­rie­da Loub­ser from T­he­sen Is­lands, who re­cei­ved the cer­ti­fi­ca­tes a­war­ding Blue Flag sta­tus to the two ma­ri­nas on T­he­sen.

P­ho­tos: Sup­p­lied

A thril­led E­ve­lyn Pe­pler (midd­le) from O­ce­an O­dys­sey, which re­cei­ved Blue Flag sta­tus for three of its bo­ats, with Wes­sa CEO Dr T­hom­mie Bur­ger and Mi­nis­ter of Tou­rism To­ko­zi­le Xa­sa.

John Prins from Bi­tou mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty

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