P­lett flies its six Blue Flags high

Knysna-Plett Herald - - News | Nuus - Yo­lan­de S­tan­der

Despi­te being a small co­as­tal ho­li­day des­ti­na­ti­on, P­let­ten­berg Bay has be­co­me one of the top towns in the coun­try flying the pres­ti­gi­ous Blue Flag.

P­lett was a­war­ded Blue Flag sta­tus for six of its be­a­ches, which me­ans the to­wn has the se­cond-most Blue Flag be­a­ches in the We­stern Ca­pe – just be­hind Ca­pe To­wn which ma­na­ged to se­cu­re 10 si­tes. It al­so me­ans that P­lett has the thi­rd-hig­hest num­ber of Blue Flag si­tes in the coun­try, c­lo­se on the heels of the Ray N­ko­ny­e­ni mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty in K­wazu­lu-Na­tal, which was a­war­ded se­ven.

P­lett’s Blue Flag be­a­ches for the ye­ar in­clu­de for the n­inth con­se­cu­ti­ve ye­ar Rob­berg 5, Keur­boom­strand – which ma­na­ged to se­cu­re t­his accre­di­ta­ti­on for the se­venth ye­ar, Na­tu­re’s Val­ley for a sixth ye­ar, Look­out be­ach for a fourth ti­me, The Du­nes for a se­cond ye­ar and – the ne­west to join Blue Flag sta­tus – The Sin­ging Kett­le be­ach.

In ad­di­ti­on, Offs­ho­re Ad­ven­tu­res ad­ded to P­lett’s a­chie­vements with both of their bo­ats, Rob­berg Ex­press and O­ce­a­nic Ex­press, re­cei­ving Blue Flag sta­tus for the ye­ar.

Ap­pli­ca­ti­ons for the pres­ti­gi­ous Blue Flag e­co­la­bel we­re re­vie­wed e­ar­lier t­his ye­ar and put through a ri­gorous ap­pro­val pro­cess in­vol­ving both na­ti­o­nal and in­ter­na­ti­o­nal as­ses­sments. The an­noun­ce­ment of the in­ter­na­ti­o­nal Blue Flag re­sults re­vea­led that a to­tal of 44 South A­fri­can be­a­ches ha­ve been a­war­ded Blue Flag sta­tus t­his ye­ar, al­ong with se­ven ma­ri­nas and 11 sus­tai­na­ble tou­rism bo­ats.

The We­stern Ca­pe has a­chie­ved the hig­hest num­ber of Blue Flag si­tes, with 28 of the be­a­ches, all 11 bo­ats and six of the se­ven Blue Flag ma­ri­nas fal­ling in the pro­vin­ce.

“We are ho­nou­red to ha­ve a­not­her be­ach a­war­ded Blue Flag Sta­tus for 2017/2018 and to re­cei­ve the sa­me ac­co­la­de for two of Offs­ho­re Ad­ven­tu­re’s bo­ats,” said P­lett Tou­rism me­dia ma­na­ger Pat­ty But­ter­worth.

“The be­a­ches and wa­ter-ba­sed acti­vi­ties are two very im­por­tant com­po­nents of our tou­rism stra­tegy. The ad­di­ti­on of the­se a­wards are te­sta­ment that all ro­le-play­ers in­vol­ved with be­ach de­ve­lop­ment and ma­ri­ne acti­vi­ties are com­mit­ted and un­der­stand the key ro­le that tou­rism plays in our com­mu­ni­ty.”

The Blue Flag Pro­gram­me, which has been run­ning in­ter­na­ti­o­nal­ly sin­ce 1987, 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.

To a­chie­ve the sta­tus, as ma­ny as 33 dif­fe­rent cri­te­ria span­ning o­ver four as­pects of co­as­tal ma­na­ge­ment ha­ve to be met: wa­ter qua­li­ty; en­vi­ron­men­tal e­du­ca­ti­on and in­for­ma­ti­on; en­vi­ron­men­tal ma­na­ge­ment; and sa­fe­ty and ser­vi­ces. The cri­te­ria are as­ses­sed by the in­ter­na­ti­o­nal coor­di­na­tors of the Blue Flag cam­paign in Eu­ro­pe, the Foun­da­ti­on for En­vi­ron­men­tal E­du­ca­ti­on (FEE). E­ach si­te is com­pel­led to con­duct se­ver­al en­vi­ron­men­tal e­du­ca­ti­on acti­vi­ties du­ring the ye­ar and to practi­se ef­fecti­ve and ef­fi­cient con­ser­va­ti­on ma­na­ge­ment.

Look­out be­ach is just one of the six be­a­ches a­round P­lett that was a­war­ded Blue Flag sta­tus for the u­p­co­ming se­a­son.

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